volunteering

Loneliness Awareness Week 2022

Tackling loneliness through volunteering

It is Loneliness Awareness Week, created and hosted by The Marmalade Trust. Loneliness is a normal feeling, with one in five people in the UK feeling lonely.

Evidence shows that loneliness can affect people’s mental and physical health. People are naturally social; feeling connected with, and giving to, others is a key factor of our emotional well-being.

The best way to combat loneliness is to talk with someone and volunteering is a great way to do this. We know that volunteering gives people a sense of community and that volunteers experience a physiological response to doing good. Meeting others and being part of a team all help increase people’s sense of well-being.

There are a number of local organisations that are in need of befrienders and other support roles which aim to support people who may feel lonely. Our own Time to Talk service in Surrey Heath has volunteer befrienders who are matched with people in the local community.

If you’re interested in finding out more about volunteering, take a look at the volunteering opportunities on our website or call us on 01932 571122.

If you’re feeling lonely, the NHS Every Mind Matters and Healthy Surrey websites both have useful tips and information.

Volunteer1

Volunteer yourself happy in 2022!

January is the perfect time to set some personal goals for the year ahead and look at ways to improve your health and wellbeing. We’ve all embraced diets and exercise regimes enthusiastically to then ditch them by the time February arrives. How about exploring something that is easy to maintain throughout the year, definitely addictive and brings rich rewards – volunteering!
Many of us think about it, but it’s easy to put barriers in the way so let’s fact check some of the usual obstacles to volunteering:

1. I can’t commit to a volunteer role on a regular basis:

Not all volunteering opportunities require a regular commitment. We have one-off events that need volunteers. Register with us as an events volunteer to be informed about local one off needs close to you. Email jenny@voluntarysupport.org.uk

2. I work full time – I can’t fit in any volunteering:

  • There are plenty of evening and weekend requirements, or flexible opportunities that you can cover whenever suits you.
  • It’s also worth checking whether your employer offers time off for volunteering – you might be surprised how many companies offer this or actively encourage employees to volunteer within the local community during working hours.
  • You could have valuable professional skills that would benefit local charities – why not get involved as a trustee? Time commitment is often relatively small but you can have a big impact on an organization and boost your CV too.

Village Centre Community FridgeVirginia Water Scout leader / helper, Citizens Advice Runnymede and Spelthorne TrusteeEikon Chair of Trustees 

3. I don’t have any useful experience to offer:

Volunteering can be a great way to develop and boost your skills, especially for younger volunteers or volunteers who are struggling to find work. Many volunteer roles will offer you training as part of your induction.

Other roles require basic skills, such as an ability to drive, a willingness to listen but most importantly, organisations need volunteers who are willing, enthusiastic and reliable

Family Befriending with Barnardos, Telephone befriending Age UK Surrey, Telephone befriending in Surrey Heath, Volunteer Drivers

4. Covid is too prevalent, now is not the right time to be mixing with others:

We have voluntary roles which can be done from home, whether that is supporting the lonely with a weekly phone call, or helping organisations with their social media strategy. It can be a great way to start working with a group and may pave the way for more opportunities as restrictions ease. There are also micro volunteering options you can try from the comfort of your own desk/armchair!

Family Befriending with Barnardos, Telephone befriending Age UK Surrey,m Telephone befriending in Surrey Heath

5. There is nothing local to me:

You'd be surprised! We can help you find something that suits your skills, interests and lifestyle - take a look at our website for opportunities local to your postcode or call us on 01932 571122.

Interested to hear more? Register to receive our volunteer newsletter to hear all about the latest volunteering opportunities in your area.

Still not sure? Speak to our team about what you are interested in and we’ll be happy to find opportunities to match your availability and interests. Call 01932 571122.

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