Volunteers are now getting involved to improve job chances

Fareham Community Hospital in Salisbury Green

Picture: Paul Jacobs

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HOW often do we really stop to think where our lives, and those of families and friends, would be without the support of volunteers?

Many groups and charities that help vulnerable groups in society have a central, dedicated volunteer core.

Even over the past year it has been obvious that the face of volunteering is changing. The challenge now is for voluntary sector organisations to embrace and move with this change.

I don’t just mean the negative changes from the financial squeeze.

I’m also referring to the change in motivations for volunteering.

Historically volunteering was done for purely altruistic reasons – giving time freely to something we felt passionate about.

And please be assured, we still badly need people like this: committed, long term volunteers willing to use skills gained over a lifetime to help provide consistent, reliable services and leisure activities.

Yet there are also other dimensions to volunteering now.

For many people with a physical or mental disability, volunteering is a life-saver – getting them out of the house and helping others.

Even more prevalent is volunteering for unemployed people, which is increasingly seen as a means to explore and gain skills, meet people and add to a CV.

A recent testimony was from a gentleman who used to ‘frown upon volunteering’ but now regards it as his best chance of becoming more employable.

I’d like to challenge organisations to think creatively about how they can use volunteers and their skills.

Please contact me on (023) 92 588 347 or gosportvb@gva.org.uk to find out more.