vInspired is the UK’s leading volunteering charity for 14-25 year olds, creating over 1 million volunteering roles since starting in 2004.
Last year they helped over 31,000 young people complete over 460,000 hours of voluntary work, contributing £2.3 million to the economy.
According to vInspired, 74% of young people are ready to volunteer, and there are so many charities and organisations out there wanting those volunteers to help.
Every role with vInspired must have a clear benefit to society. It can be helping the environment, people or the local community. It can be in a range of different sectors from poverty relief and gender equality to business, leadership, events and festivals.
Why should I volunteer?
Volunteering is rewarding, flexible and teaches you new skills. Whatever your interests are, there is a volunteering role out there for you.
Some people start volunteering because they are passionate about a particular cause, some people get involved in volunteering because they want to help change their local community, and some people get involved because they want to learn vital skills that will help with their future career.
vInspired gives volunteers the opportunity to work within their specific interests, whether it be animals, fashion, photography, music, sports or technology. Volunteering can also be totally flexible with how many hours you want to volunteer, with some people doing a few hours on occasion and some people doing as many hours a week as possible.
Volunteering can happen alongside your studies, work and social life and it can be doing something you are interested in and want to learn more about.
You can volunteer within your own town, or you could see what’s on offer far and wide and have the opportunity to travel as you go.
The main thing to understand when considering volunteering is that vInspired aims to make things completely controllable – you can choose when, where and how much of your time you want to give.
The vInspired website has an excellent search engine for you to find the perfect volunteering role. You can look within a specific area, choose a particular interest that you want to volunteer within, and pick when you want to volunteer – weekends, weekdays, only evenings or select flexible if you don’t have a time preference.
Volunteering will also boost your CV and make you an even better candidate for employers to consider. Not only does volunteering show that you have an interest in helping people and using your time to benefit the community, but it also shows that you have experience in a specific area. You can find volunteering roles that will teach you the skills needed for your dream job, and give you vital experience within those roles.
If you’re interested in teaching, there are voluntary classroom assistant roles. If you want to be a photographer, there are plenty of opportunities for voluntary photographers. If you want a career in music or event organising, there are lots of festival and events stewarding opportunities too.
There really is something for everyone.
Once you’ve completed your volunteering, vInspired gives you the opportunity to log your hours and earn certificates for the time you have given. You can gain rewards for 10 hours, 30 hours, 50 hours and 100 hours of voluntary work. These certificates will impress any college, university or potential employer and will set you aside from the rest.
How can I volunteer?
If you want to volunteer but don’t know where to start, there are a few things to consider first before jumping into anything.
Firstly, you need to find something that you want to do. Volunteering hours are beneficial for you when writing your CV and applying to University and jobs, but you’re not going to enjoy volunteering if you’re doing it for that reason alone. The best thing to do is find something you want to do, rather than something you feel like you should do.
Luckily, vInspired makes it easy to search for a role that motivates you as they have a search engine with the option to choose what interests you.
Be open to new opportunities and trying something completely out of your comfort zone, but also ask yourself why you’re picking this specific role before you apply for it. If you’re passionate about it, then you will be more motivated to volunteer.
Another thing to consider before volunteering is that you need to decide exactly how much time you are willing to give. Most organisations are thankful for any help, even if it’s just a few hours that you can spare.
Some volunteering roles can be tough, and require a lot of enthusiasm and energy and you can easily over-exert yourself. So, think about how much spare time you have and how much time you want to be giving to your volunteer role. If that’s 20+ hours a week, then great! If it’s only a few hours here and there, then that’s good too.
Once you’ve found a role or an organisation that you are really interested in, the next step is to apply! When applying, don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn exactly what this role will require you to do.
Similarly, if there’s anything extra that you want to contribute that isn’t listed in the volunteer role description, it doesn’t help to ask! If you’re volunteering as a shop assistant for a charity shop, but also have an interest in social media, it might be worth asking the organiser if you can get involved with contributing to their social media networks – they might be able to organise something like that for you.
What if there’s nothing that appeals to me?
vInspired have a scheme called Cashpoint, where you can submit your project idea to help out your community, and get £500 to make it happen.
If you want to volunteer, but there’s nothing in your community that you’re passionate about, maybe this is one thing for you to consider. If you have an idea of something that can benefit your community, then give it a go!
As well as pitching your idea to vInspired, you could approach your local council or MP, or local charities with your idea of how your community can be improved. If you don’t see a volunteer role that’s right for you, why not make your own volunteer role?
Thinking of getting involved?
Visit the vInspired website to get started on your volunteering! https://vinspired.com/
There’s always support for you at New Roots if you want to volunteer. You can always contact the office on firstname.lastname@example.org or, if you’re one of our service users, talk to Matt Pickering and he can help you out if you’re interested in volunteering!