Reasons to volunteer in your community

Reasons to volunteer in your community

Last week I took my 97 year old Granny and her younger friend (think she is late 80s) to the club that they attend every week - The Good Neighbour Club. It is located in a busy part of Edinburgh so I was a little concerned about being able to drop them off right outside. The pair of them told me not to worry that there was always someone standing on the pavement waiting for them. A little confused by this comment, I drove down to the club. Right enough, one of the volunteers from the club was standing outside ready to assist anyone that he saw approaching who was coming inside. It was a horrific winters day yet this retired man was wrapped up in his coat, hat and gloves helping others. It was lovely to see true kindness in action. I hope he and all the other amazing volunteers realise what a positive impact they have on all these old peoples' lives. Some of whom I am sure would be stuck in their home, in complete isolation without other people giving up their time.

From an early age I have always volunteered to do things to help others, perhaps it's the fact that I can't say no to things, I love being busy or that growing up my parents always gave up their own time to help others. In fact my parents met whilst doing voluntary work - my Mum was a Cub leader and my Dad was a Scout leader and as they say the rest is history!

I was really shocked recently when I spoke to one lady at an event that I had organised for my boys' school Parents' Association who informed me "I pride myself that I have never volunteered for anything!" I actually felt a bit sad for her as she is missing out on so much (and obviously, I didn't bother asking if she would like to join our committee!)

I have met so many fantastic people through voluntary work and to be honest I have also benefited greatly from the experiences too. I acquired new skills whilst out on active first aid duty not to mention got to visit places I might not have gone to, I got to know lots of people in my local community from being a Beaver Leader for 10 years, I have had huge personal satisfaction from people just saying "Thank You!" to me. From a selfish point of view I suppose I could also say that some of my voluntary work also looked great on my CV when I was applying to go to University.

A study in 2016 showed that 27% of adults in Scotland volunteered formally through an organisation or group that year. Whilst this equates to about 136.5 million hours of help which is a huge number, I'm sure we could all do a little bit to help make it even higher!

Not only does volunteering help others it really does help you too, in so many ways. So have a go and see what a difference you can make.