The impact of volunteering
It goes without saying how important it is to recognise the incredible contributions, of all those, giving their time to make a difference to the causes they believe in and ultimately helping to create a better society for all.
And despite what has been an unprecedented and exceptionally difficult year, millions of adults across the UK have continued volunteering in their local communities – playing a huge role in the pandemic response and making a huge difference to the lives of others. Over the last year this “volunteering army” have been helping with grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions and reaching out to people living alone, not to mention the thousands of people who signed up to the NHS volunteer programme.
Volunteering in numbers during COVID-19
Not only are there significant benefits on economic, social and cultural capital, but there is strong evidence linking volunteering to improved mental health and wellbeing, increased confidence and reduced stress levels in individuals.
In the NCVO’s most recent Time Well Spent survey, 77% of those asked agreed it improved their mental health and wellbeing, 68% agreed that it helped them feel less isolated, whilst 93% agreed that the most common benefit of volunteering was enjoyment.
Other ways to volunteer
And it’s not just out in their local communities people are finding ways to support. From Trustee positions to offering their skills through mentoring and specialists projects, our members are supporting causes close to them and developing their skills at the same time.
“At the beginning of lockdown I had to adapt, I looked for opportunities to mentor young people virtually, something I have had previous experience doing in person. This led me to find the Prince’s Trust online mentoring programme.
I started mentoring a young woman. My role was to offer her advice, help her set goals and be someone she could chat to about her business. Providing mentorship through the Prince's Trust gives a supportive base to mentors and mentees.’ - Christabel Chittick – Communications Adviser, DWP
How can supporting your employees in volunteering be beneficial to your organisation?
There are numerous ways in which making volunteering part of your CSR strategy can benefit both your employees and your organisation. These include;
- Increased employee engagement
- Stronger, more connected teams
- Attracting and recruiting millennials
- Employee development
- Discovering future leaders
Centrica - British Gas
At the beginning of the pandemic British Gas started encouraging its staff to volunteer with their local food bank – supporting in food deliveries and donating items. As well as bolstering their continued partnership with Carers UK – helping them to provide vital support and advice to those who most need it.
"Our engineers, call centre and support teams are playing a crucial role in ensuring our customer’s homes are safe, warm and working and I’m so proud of the amazing work they are doing. There are so many of our people that want to do more to help those in need, so by working with the Trussell Trust we can help get food and other essentials to those who really need it. We are in a unique position to help with our nationwide reach and with the third largest fleet in the UK.” – Matthew Bateman, Managing Director, British Gas
To everyone who’s volunteered their time over the last year and beyond - THANK YOU!