Information

Volunteering in Patchway, Filton and the Stokes

 

 



Volunteering

Are you thinking of taking your first steps into volunteering? Or maybe, you’re coming back for more? Whatever your answer or reasons, we’re glad that you’re considering voluntary work. You can make a real difference not only to helping others or supporting your community, but more importantly you’ll get to experience the fulfilment that volunteering brings and a multitude of personal benefits in return.

Take a look through our 'information for volunteers' and when you’re ready, it’s just a matter of finding your ideal role!. That’s where we can help! Read on, then register with us.

What Is Volunteering?

We define volunteering as the act of freely giving your time to help an organisation, or individual to whom you are not related.  If you have ever helped out at a sports event, a school fair, or taken part in a sponsored walk, you've been a volunteer.

Volunteering should never be something you are made to do, and is not done for financial gain.  The rewards are about the satisfaction of putting something back into society, about gaining useful experience and skills, meeting new people, and hopefully having fun!


How to get started

You can contact us by phone, email or arrange a time for a face-to-face meeting where you can talk through your thoughts and needs with a Volunteer Advisor.  We hold Drop–In sessions at: Bradley Stoke Library, The Old School Rooms Coffee Shop in Stoke Gifford and The Hub in Patchway. Please see the calendar for latest dates. 
Or clicking on 'Volunteering Registration', or to browse a range of volunteering opportunities in the area go to  Do-IT  


What should I expect as a volunteer?
Your travel expenses to be paid but, this does depend on the size of the organisation, so it’s always worth checking.
• A clear outline of what is expected of you.  This is usually in the form of a written ‘role description’
• Training and guidance on your role.
• Support or supervision from a paid member of staff, or in smaller organisations and groups from an experienced volunteer.
• To be safe and covered by insurance to carry out the tasks you’ve been given.
• To be made aware of the organisation’s policies and procedures, including who you should talk to if you are unhappy.
• To feel valued by the organisation and able to contribute to its development.

If these expectations are not met, or you have problems that you cannot sort out with the organisation where you volunteer, contact The Volunteer Centre and we can advise and support you.  Click on 'Contact Us'.



What are the benefits?  
There are many reasons why people choose to volunteer. Their decision may be based on a desire to support a cause close to their heart or to undertake an activity that will benefit them personally. Regardless of a person’s motivation, preference or skill there is something for everyone.  Another reason for its popularity is that volunteering is open to all.

Benefits from volunteering can be:

Personal
• To build confidence and self esteem
• To gain a sense of purpose
• To gain fulfilment and satisfaction
• To gain recognition
• Explore career interests

A recent poll has found that 80% of people said that being kind/volunteering had a positive influence on their health. (Mental Health Foundation, 2012)

Social
• To meet new people and make new friends
• To improve life prospects
• To have quality time away from your existing lifestyle

Achievement
• To maintain, develop or share existing skills
• To gain new skills, knowledge and experience
• To improve employment prospects (through proven experience on your CV and volunteering references)
• To gain an accreditation
• To make a difference in someone’s life

Community
• Support your community
• Make a difference locally.
• Give back to the community
• Help people who are isolated or disadvantaged
• Improve the environment.

What's Stopping you?
  • Not enough spare time? There are lots of volunteering opportunities which do not require a big time commitment and can be fitted around busy schedules. e.g. 1 hour per week, once per month, one-off volunteering, volunteering from home.
  • Put off by bureaucracy? Procedures are there to protect us, but the Volunteer Centre can offer support to help you complete lengthy paperwork.
  • Worried about risk/liability? The Volunteer Centre will only signpost you towards organisations with Public Liability Insurance and Safeguarding procedures to ensure volunteering experiences are happy and healthy.
  • Don't know how to get involved? The Volunteer Centre can provide you with the information you need to get involved. 'Do-it.org' is a good starting point to get ideas about what you can do with volunteering
  • Not having the right skills/experience? A major benefit of volunteering is gaining skills and experience. The Volunteer Centre can help you find volunteering suited to your ability and interest.
Can volunteering help me into employment?
  • Research has found that volunteering can help increase self-esteem and confidence amongst volunteers, skills which are invaluable in gaining employment. (Institute for Volunteering Research, 2009)
  • Volunteering can demonstrate a multitude of attractive skills to employers, such as evidence of commitment and working within a team. 
  • Volunteering can provide you with references and relevant up-to-date experience.

Which sectors do people mostly volunteer in?

  • Sports and exercise
  • Hobbies, recreation, arts and social
  • Religion
  • Children’s education and schools
  • Youth children’s activities (outside schools)
  • Health, disability and social welfare
  • Local community or neighborhood groups
  • Animals and the environment
What activities do volunteers mostly carry out?
  • Organising or helping to run an event
  • Raising or handling money/taking part in sponsored events
  • Leading the group/member of committee
  • Providing transport/driving
  • Giving information/advice/counselling
  • Visiting people
  • Secretarial, clerical or admin work
  • Befriending or mentoring people


Supported Volunteering

Absolutely anyone can volunteer! Although some organisations are limited on time and space, there are many opportunities that welcome people of all abilities and can offer additional support as required. Volunteering can help to build confidence lost through physical and mental illness.
Where?
The Volunteer Centre Patchway specialises in opportunities in the Four Towns area: Filton, Patchway, Bradley Stoke, Stoke Gifford (and all the areas in between) and we aim to support those who live within the area. However, to help people find their ideal opportunity we can look further afield.  The further a volunteer is willing to travel the more opportunities will be available. Volunteers may have to consider travelling further for some specific activities, but there are many opportunities in and around the four towns. 
Volunteering Abroad
We don’t specialise in Volunteering abroad but there are plenty of companies providing the link between your home life and the adventure you are ready to have abroad. Please browse the links below to find out about the different types of Volunteering available:

EVS (18 – 30 years ec.europa.eu )
Worldwide Volunteering  -  www.wwv.irg.uk
Frontier – Conservation, Education and Explore – www.frontier.ac.uk


Microvolunteering
You can even volunteer without even leaving the house! Check out the Microvolunteering website for suggestions of how you can contribute your time for great causes from your home PC or using crafts and literacy skills from home.
 

 


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