Volunteering: Personal Growth and Community Impact

To celebrate Volunteers Week, Katy, our Network Delivery and Customer Support Intern, blogs about the joys of volunteering and helping your community.

From crisp autumn mornings striding across fields in full Viking costume to warm, bright afternoons packing parcels in the sunshine at my local food bank, volunteering has given me a whole range of memorable experiences throughout my life (some requiring more context than others!)  

Volunteering is an immensely rewarding experience that has numerous benefits for individuals and the communities they serve. First and foremost, it’s a great way to meet people and socialise in friendly, welcoming settings. 

Volunteering provides the opportunity to connect with new people from a range of backgrounds and can contribute to a sense of belonging within the community. This can help form valuable connections and lasting friendships. 

To start volunteering you don’t need loads of experience or to have volunteered somewhere before. You can contribute skills, knowledge and experience that others may not be able to! It can be daunting to put yourself out there and try something new, but I would really encourage volunteering as a great way to make new friends, participate in your local community and put whatever time and skills you have to a good cause. 

Volunteering is also an excellent way to gain practical experience and knowledge. It can be a stepping stone to employment, allowing you to demonstrate experience working with others, initiative and a reliable commitment. Key employability skills like problem-solving, teamwork and communication can also be developed through voluntary work. 

Your community needs you!

‘But what can I bring to the table?’ You may be wondering. Quite simply; whatever time, energy and resources you are able to give will have an impact.  The dedication and efforts of volunteers are fundamental to the operation of many community organisations across the UK, who would quite simply not be able to deliver the work they do without their volunteers. This makes it incredibly valuable not just for your personal growth but also for the organisations receiving your support. 

Working with volunteers can expand the capacity of community organisations. Voluntary work helps community organisations allocate their (often restricted) financial resources more efficiently, providing more funding for the delivery of services which help the community. With the range of roles, responsibilities and insight volunteers can contribute, organisations can deliver more services and reach more people. Volunteers can provide services that might otherwise be inaccessible due to resource constraints, particularly in underprivileged areas. They are often at the forefront of addressing community needs, making volunteers an essential, integral part of the community.

Could you be a Digital Champion Volunteer?

Digital Champions volunteer to support others learning digital skills. This provides crucial digital inclusion support and empowers communities in our increasingly digital society. 

Seeing first hand the work that our Hubs do with even the smallest number of people has proven to me the power of people. 

You never know where volunteering will take you. A couple of hours a week as a Digital Champion volunteer supporting digital drop-ins at your local community centre could place you to advocate for more inclusive digital policies and infrastructure at a higher level. Firsthand experience equips volunteers with valuable insights about the barriers and needs of their community, allowing them to inform and influence local digital strategies. A big difference made by one small commitment!

If you would like to become a Digital Champion, get in touch with your local Digital Inclusion Hub

Volunteering is an immensely rewarding experience that offers personal growth, community impact and enhanced employability. Volunteers are undeniably the backbone of many community organisations. You can provide the energy, passion and innovation that would genuinely help your community. 

Katy Leigh

Network Delivery and Customer Support Intern

Katy supports with network recruitment and customer support calls. She enjoys reaching out to organisations and hearing about the work they do and how Good Things can help their delivery of digital inclusion support. Katy also takes customer support calls and enjoys the variety and collaborative nature of both roles.