Community Lives Matter could not function without volunteers. We are not a large, professional charity with paid staff for everything we do. On the contrary, we encourage local people to engage with the needs that we have around us and serve as volunteers, investing in our own community. (If you just want to see our opportunities for volunteers, you can skip the next paragraphs and go straight to them!)
Clearly, the work of our volunteers benefits those who receive our services. Whether the dozens who are served a fantastic three-course meal at our luncheon club, lonely people who receive a visit or phone call from one of our befrienders or those caring for people with dementia who enjoy a cuppa and a good old natter with others while those they care for play indoor bowls – all of this is the result of volunteers choosing to serve them.
But serving in this way does wonders for the volunteers themselves too! The benefits are well documented – did you know, for example, that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not?! Here are a few other benefits that volunteers experience:
- It connects you with others – in our digitally connected world, it is surprising how many still feel lonely. Most volunteers make new friends, gain new social skills and increase in self-confidence through what they do.
- It gives you valuable experience and help you develop skills that will be useful both in personal and professional life; many volunteers find that their careers are enhanced through their voluntary work, and for those starting out, volunteer work looks great on a CV!
- It’s good for mind and body – we live in a stressful age but stepping out of “ordinary life” and serving others has a positive impact on our mental and emotional wellbeing. It helps manage stress and anxiety, combats depression, and gives you a sense of purpose – all of which contribute to overall physical health too. It’s a win-win!
- It’s fun! Yes, it can be challenging at times, but having meaningful rewarding activities beyond your work or home life can motivate and inspire you for the rest of life too.
Volunteering England defines volunteering as: “Any activity that involves spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit the environment or someone (individuals or groups) other than, or in addition to, close relatives”
“But I don’t know if I have the right skills…” Whilst you may need or want to learn some new skills, most of our opportunities are more about the right attitude than what you can do. New skills can be learned – and we look to provide training where this is needed for any particular role. But the most valuable things a volunteer can bring are compassion for those we work with, a willingness to serve wherever needed and bucketfuls of enthusiasm!
These are some of the areas available for volunteers at Community Lives Matter:
- Luncheon club helpers – from waiting on to washing up, there are many opportunities to be part of the great team that serves up 70+ meals every week
- Asylum seeker & refugee support – there are a number of different ways you could help:
- Friendship – have a coffee at our drop-in, play table tennis or pool, go out on a bike ride, help them understand life in England…
- English conversation – just chat and encourage them in learning English, or if you have some TOEFL experience, help out with more formal teaching
- Paperwork – there are so many things they need support with in their new lives here: enrolling in college for English classes, registering with a GP and other health needs, support with asylum claims, and so much more when granted leave to remain…
- Bike maintenance – bikes are so valuable to them, helping them get around; we collect donated bikes that are checked, repaired if necessary, and passed on
- Support for people with dementia – we have a number of activities that help people with dementia stay active and social, whilst also giving a break or support to their carers. Weekly sessions of indoor bowls and table tennis, the dementia café, personal support such as going for a walk or a coffee… This all makes a huge difference.
- Befrienders – half a million older people go 5 or 6 days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone, and the number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is likely to pass 2 million in the next 5 years. You can’t solve this for the millions, but you could make a difference in the life of a couple of individuals…
- Fundraisers – people who engage with donors and manage campaigns to help raise the finance needed to keep our work going
- Social media stars – could you manage a Facebook account? Instagram? It’s easy to do from wherever you are, and vital in the world we live in today
If you would like to apply for a volunteer role, please get in touch via our contact page and one of our volunteer or activity coordinators will be in touch – we look forward to serving with you!