A recent survey has highlighted the value of volunteering for communities and individuals.
The North Yorkshire Resilience Survey, undertaken by charity Community First Yorkshire, a voluntary sector support organisation, and its partners, has raised awareness that a new type of volunteer is emerging.
The survey looked at how charities and community groups in North Yorkshire were coping post-lockdown. Many organisations report that they have seen a new and diverse group of volunteers coming forward to offer their support, bringing in new skills and more flexible volunteering. This is one of the surprising positives that has come out of the pandemic, triggered by a greater spirit of unity and kindness within local communities. It means that many charities and community organisations are looking to offer more flexible volunteering roles to attract a new cohort of volunteers.
Leah Furniss, a Development Officer with Community First Yorkshire, notes: “During the pandemic, we saw a different group of people stepping up to volunteer; with many people coming forward for the first time with a desire to do something, to help. We are now seeing a significant number of those new volunteers want to continue and more people are coming forward to give the gift of their time. What’s encouraging is that organisations are adapting and offering more flexible and short term volunteering roles that reflect what this new group of volunteers want.”
There is plenty of research to show that volunteering in support of a cause you feel passionate about can have a direct impact on boosting your mental health. It is something to be celebrated that more people are now aware of volunteering and the benefits it can bring, not just to their communities, but also at a personal level. Community First Yorkshire has had the privilege to hear stories of people suffering from isolation and loneliness, making new friends; and individuals struggling with unhealthy work-life balance, feeling inspired to put themselves first.
Leah adds: “Sunday was World Mental Health Day when many of us turned our thoughts to ‘good mental health for all. We know that volunteering is good for your mental health, makes you feel stronger connections with your local community and can help tackle loneliness.”
If you are an organisation looking for volunteers or an individual thinking about volunteering, our free-to-access online directory – Volunteering in North Yorkshire (VINY) – is a great place to start. Potential volunteers can search by; geographical area, type of role or the time of day they would like to volunteer, or by the type of charity or cause they would like to support. Once they have found an opportunity they’re interested in, they can message the organisation directly to start their volunteering journey.
For more information on local volunteering opportunities in North Yorkshire or how to advertise your volunteering opportunities go to communityfirstyorkshire.org.uk/what-we-do/volunteering/If you would like any further details please contact Community First Yorkshire on 01904 704177 or email firstname.lastname@example.org