volunteer in Surrey Heath

Finding Value in Day to Day Living (1)

Find Your Ikigai Through Volunteering

Whether newly retired or feeling stuck in a rut with the daily grind, many of us are struggling to find our mojos after the disruption of the pandemic and the anxiety created by the crisis in Ukraine. But the Japanese concept of Ikigai - finding value in day-to-day living - may hold at least part of the answer.

This doesn’t mean making big dramatic changes. It can be as simple as taking steps to feel more connected to your community and those around you. Volunteering is a great way to start this process. https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/volunteering/be-a-volunteer/

  1. Start small – with so many opportunities out there, it can be hard to decide where to start and what will fit around your other commitments. Microvolunteering (small remote tasks with flexible timings) can be a great way to get a taste for volunteering without making a big regular commitment (https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/micro-volunteering/). Being part of something bigger that is making a difference gives you a real purpose. Or maybe try helping at a one off event to meet other volunteers and feel part of a group. Sign up to receive alerts about one off volunteering opportunities on our website and start your search  https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/register-volunteer/
  2. Stay local – giving back to your local community and seeing the difference you make is hugely rewarding. Whether driving local residents to medical appointments or helping with collections for the local foodbank, it’s surprising how many voluntary groups there are in your area that would gladly take new volunteers. For regular newsletters about local opportunities sign up here https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/subscribe/
  3. Find your cause – think about what matters to you and what you care about. To get the most out of your volunteering, it’s important to find something that matters to you. Not sure where to start? You can search for opportunities local to you on our website https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/volunteering/volunteer-now or speak to the team at Voluntary Support who can share opportunities that align with your interests.
  4. Reap the rewards – Once you have the right volunteering role, enjoy the benefits that it brings. It may be as simple as feeling like a valued member of your community or you may find you are able to develop new skills and friendships through your volunteering work. A fresh perspective and sense of satisfaction may soon put the spring back in your step.
  5. Share your experience – If you love the way volunteering makes you feel, be sure to tell others the difference it is making – the perfect excuse for a humblebrag. If your company doesn’t currently offer opportunities for staff to volunteer, let them know about the difference it has made for you and connect them to Voluntary Support North Surrey who can help them find ways to incorporate volunteering into their strategy.


RAoK day FB

Random Acts of Kindness

In this Random Acts of Kindness week, we are all encouraged to make kindness the norm.

Take this week as an opportunity to show appreciation for those around us, notice those in need, give back to others, and to pay it forward.

Over 9 million adults in the UK are often and always lonely. You'd be amazed at how long people remember a small act of kindness - it really does make the world of difference.

Volunteer befrienders give their time to show kindness to people experiencing loneliness and isolation. Befrienders usually visit or phone lonely and isolated people once a week, to have a chat and to remind them that someone is thinking of them. The person being visited has something to look forward to and someone new to share their experiences with, and the befriender takes gets pleasure from making a difference to someone else.

Our befriending project Time to Talk encourages our befrienders to show little acts of kindness to the person they are matched with. Volunteer John visits or calls Frank on a weekly basis. For much of the day Frank is sat in an armchair looking out of the window. To give Frank something to enjoy looking at, John gave Frank a bird feeder and some bird seed. Frank now enjoys watching the birds in his garden and chatting with John about what he has seen. This little act of kindness made such a difference to Frank and John takes great pleasure in knowing this. ‘I was happy to do it’ said John, it was a little something to brighten Frank’s Day.’

Lucy made regular telephone calls to Jean throughout the first lockdown. They got on famously throughout this time chatting and when they finally met face to face, they got to know one another even better. As Jean was unlikely to see family on her birthday, Lucy was keen to organise a special treat, so she made arrangements to take Jean to the local garden Centre for tea and cake. Jean was delighted to have been remembered by Lucy on her special day and Lucy shared with us that it ‘makes her happy to know that she has made someone else happy and brightened their day.’

Lisa visited Amy every week for a number of months, In conversation, Amy shared that she had never been able to visit the grave of someone special she had lost, years ago. Lisa made the decision to surprise Amy one day, by driving her to the grave and staying with her whilst she laid flowers for the very first time. For Amy, this was a long-term wish fulfilled and a very precious moment. Our volunteer Lisa explained that for her ‘it was a small thing’ that she ‘wanted to support Amy fulfil her wish,’ ‘it was an honour’ and brought her ‘immense pleasure to be able to do it.’

We're so grateful to all volunteers who support others with their acts of kindness.

If you live in Surrey Heath find out more about Time to Talk here or Surrey-wide, there are lots of local organisations looking for volunteer befrienders - click here for some ideas or contact us for more help if you don't find what you're looking for.

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