“I feel I have given something back as well as having fun”
This week is student volunteering week (SVW), an annual celebration, which this year focuses on the benefits of volunteering for students, charities and beneficiaries. It’s a chance to show off the diverse range of volunteering opportunities available to students, and dozens of colleges, universities and students’ unions celebrate by taking part in events and activities.
The benefits of volunteering for young people are well documented. Research carried out the #iwill campaign shows young people who volunteer have stronger personal networks and higher life skills. Other research projects have found that students contribute significantly to the wider community through the hours they give to groups and organisations through formal and informal volunteering.
Ellie Clapham has been volunteering since she was at junior school. She told us about some of the things she has volunteered for and how she feels she has benefitted from her volunteering.
“I first started volunteering with my mum when I was about 10. My first experience was dressed as a carrot handing out leaflets for the Home Grown Food Festival in Northallerton! I have helped at this event every year, and this year I am going to help with coordinating the other volunteers needed to help run things like this. I have also volunteered at festivals, helped set up and run community events, face painted, been a first aider, baked and sold cakes, visited older people and fundraised, so quite a mix!
“When I think about it, the benefits to me from volunteering have been many and varied. I have met new people and made new friends. I feel like I have given something back to others, my village, my school, my community, as well as having fun. I have been able to put my volunteering on my CV when I have been applying for jobs, working on a summer camp and when applying for university. I have some real life examples of situations I can use at interview. I have a number of people who have offered to be a reference for me in different situations. I think I have also improved my customer service, am better able to communicate with others, work as part of a team, organise and manage my time better and make decisions I don’t think I would have had opportunity to make anywhere else. I have also been able to attend training courses that I can put on my CV.
“I feel I am more confident and have been able to try out so many different things, volunteering is great!”