10 benefits of volunteering This blog has been written by our ED&I Champion, Arfan Hussain. I was sitting and thinking on this wet and damp day how I would respond, if someone said to me, I can offer you the chance to do something which could provide me with 10 benefits for my life. Depending on who with and where I did it, I could get support with travel expenses and meals. The only condition was offering my time on a voluntary basis. Would I accept the offer? Well, I guess my questions would include: What are these benefits? Have I got the time and energy and commitment? Could I give up my precious time for free, especially when money can be very short? To answer these questions here are 10 possible reasons: Volunteering helps bring life into perspective. Our life might not be as bad as we think in comparison to many other people. It provides us with the opportunity to reflect and count our blessings. Volunteering gives the opportunity to help others and takes the attention away from our own problems and stresses. This can be a form of stress relief. Volunteering can help you get or stay healthy. Any physical activity and movement is more beneficial than sitting in front of a screen, surely? This benefit can be increased if it is associated with some form of fund raising, particularly if we have a passion for a particular cause. Volunteering is easier to get involved in for most people, whether you are working or not. There is vast information out there, online and in person. Volunteering offers the opportunity to pay forward. If someone’s helped you then it gives you a chance to help someone else, who then helps someone else, who then helps someone else, who then might come back to help you again… Volunteering offers a chance to show a positive stand to the negative portrayal of society and the world today. Volunteering displays real proof of the good and positive actions by people within our communities, societies and the world. Volunteering can offer unique and exciting opportunities as well as gaining new skills and knowledge. You just don’t know who you will meet or what you could end up doing or going. Volunteering helps to meet with other people who are like minded with similar beliefs. So not only will you be helping others you will also be making links and connections with real people and become less isolated. Volunteering sets a good example for others. It is often easy to complain about how bad the world is and we can feel angry, upset, frustrated and above all powerless. Volunteering provides the opportunity for us to do something about this, even on the smallest scale. It can make a positive difference for the world and for us. Volunteering offers the opportunity to mix and socialise with others, that we might not normally do. It can help to break down barriers and negative perceptions of others, through a shared activity. It can broaden our outlooks and help celebrate other cultures and peoples. I feel these points are very encouraging and provide justification for giving up my time freely and making the effort. In case you are wondering, I shall be expressing my interest to volunteer very shortly with a charity, not so far away. Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion theme for June is Volunteering and Skills for the Workplace, if you'd like to find out more about how you can up-skill, click here. About Arfan... I have always worked in roles that have involved supporting others to improve the quality of their lives and overcome barriers. I totally believe in the work of charities and support they provide, hence, having spent the majority of my working life with charities. At Fircroft College, I have been working within the Student Services Support team and became more involved with Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, as the Equality Champion, in 2017. I believe, that the role of Equality Champion at the college is a privilege, as well as being exciting and challenging. It provides the opportunity to promote Equality Diversity and Inclusion, an area that I truly respect and defend. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.” Confucius.