As you’ll know from your own placement, volunteering is a great way to work directly with those affected by local issues. It’s really rewarding to make a difference to the lives of those in your home community as well as those in a community further away.
Volunteering is a chance to help others, develop your own skills, and find out about the issues facing people in the UK. Think about what issues are important to you. Are there any organisations in your community that are working to address these issues?
What you can do to help?
There are many ways to volunteer in your local community. Posters, village hall notice boards, supermarket notice boards, church notice boards, local social media pages and online searches are all places you might find opportunities near you.
From volunteering at your local youth centre, homeless shelter or soup kitchen to working with your local council or political party, there are so many areas to choose from.
A great place to start are sites like Do-it and vInspired, databases of local volunteering opportunities. All you need to do is enter your postcode or town and it’ll show you everything from charity shop assistant roles to looking after ponies and horses at animal rescue centres.
If you can’t commit to a set time each week, volunteering at a specific event might be more up your street – how about a Christmas fair or local beach clean. You could even start your own event!
What are other people doing?
ICS volunteers have worked on many different volunteering projects for their Action at Home.
From supporting young people from disadvantaged background to find jobs to working for a social enterprise offering nutrition services to local schools, supporting hydrotherapy for children with disabilities and raising funds for the Ebola crisis – volunteering is a great way to carry on after ICS.
For Matt, his ICS placement in Burundi gave him the passion to volunteer when he got home, taking up a place volunteering at the refugee camp in Calais before it closed. When he returned home to Watford, London, he joined a local charity helping the homeless. Find out about his experience.
If you’re looking for more inspiration and ideas, try:
- Trees for Cities – as our urban spaces become more built up, the need to preserve and grow green spaces is more important than ever. Volunteer on this project to help plant trees in cities across Britain. They’re aiming to plant a million urban trees by 2020!
- GreeceVol – if you’re keen to support the refugee cause and be right at the heart of the action, this huge hub of information on supporting refugees in Greece is a great place to start
- Refuge – passionate about supporting survivors of domestic abuse? Volunteering on their Freephone 24-hour call centre is an amazing opportunity to support vulnerable women and children
- Girlguiding and Scouts – it’s likely you’ll have heard of these movements already. Their huge networks support girls and boys across the country to grow in their personal development. Reckon you’d be a good fit as a leader?
- Red Cross – if you enjoyed your experience of volunteering outside your home community, the Red Cross’ international volunteering scheme brings young people from across Europe together to support asylum seekers and refugees