Volunteering and how you can help the community



Jim Thompson

Volunteer at Newport and Usk Vale Lions
Follow Newport and Usk Vale Lions

Tel: 07966784148

How does volunteering help the community

Volunteering can bring communities together. It enhances a community often working as a team. Just look at some of the initiatives which are going on across many communities. • Food banks, collection and sorting and delivery of food parcels including fruit and vegetable boxes. • Clothes banks – again organising the donation and collection and delivery of clothes for use by rough sleepers, individuals in hostels or refuges. • Financial help to organisations supporting those less fortunate than ourselves. • Daily exercise – whilst walking in your community pick up litter and discarded plastic – make your community look nice and well kept. • Volunteering creates the opportunity for social interaction – this could be through a weekly coffee morning or a lunch club, a bingo or craft morning a chance for people to talk and catch up with each other. • Creates a community bond, through bringing the individuals and the organisation together in a community. Volunteer leaders in a church and its organisations such as the Boys Brigade or and uniformed organisation such as the cubs, scouts, brownies, guides or sports clubs such as the local football/rugby team. This increases the ‘sense of community’ and the pride people feel from living in the community.

Where does volunteering begin

Volunteering can be done across the age continuum and may be inter-generational. Children can be part of a ‘litter pick’ or a beach clean up’ as part of their family, or community group. Volunteering could start in school – for children this could be as part of a school project, linked to the community in which the school is situated, it could range from planting and maintaining a wild flower garden, planting trees as part of the a larger worldwide programme. Older pupils start volunteering as part of their work experience or their membership of a uniformed organisation such as cubs, scouts, brownies, guides or cadets. Many volunteer as part of them doing their Duke of Edinburgh award. Another aspect is that some older people who have knowledge and skills and talents from the past could volunteer as part of the school curriculum. Talking about the history of the community in which schools are located. This could include volunteering to talk about mining, driving a steam train, being a cobbler, talking about wars or being disabled. The list of topics are endless. Some people volunteer by going into schools and helping the pupils by storytelling and reading books or listening to the children read aloud. People volunteer in Charity shops, sorting out donations or working as a shop assistant. Lots of skills can be learned in these types of environments. I volunteer as a Trustee for a local hospice, as well as working one day a week (outside lockdown) in a café in the local hospice, I make tea and coffees, and sell sandwiches and cakes and make simple snacks. As a volunteer I am supported by the hospice to get my food hygiene and allergy qualifications to allow me to work in the café.

Can volunteering lead to a job

Most definitely, take volunteering in a care home for example. Volunteering to entertain the residents or helping with activities such as games or reading a book or playing a board game or helping with a jig saw, gives the volunteer valuable insight into the range of work that is available within a care home. Volunteering in a café, perhaps in a hospital setting for the League of Friends or WRVS help the volunteer to develop their knowledge, skills, and talents across a wide range of potential occupations. It is about developing communication skills and customer relations through talking to people - the basis for so many occupations. Volunteering to help at the local community radio station can help develop insight into media broadcasting. Volunteering to answer and support the vulnerable via the telephone can held enhance skills perhaps to become a call handler. Volunteering for organisations such as the National Trust, Charities, Hospitals and Care Homes, at local events such as Agricultural shows, being a ‘friend of’ an organisation such as Lions, can all help to develop skills which ultimately can lead to a job through people seeing you are committee, with good time management skills, that you are trustworthy and reliable, all of which could contribute to you getting a job because you were a good volunteer.

What volunteering can I do during Covid19?

There are so many, its easier to do a list. • Checking up on an elderly or vulnerable neighbour on a regular basis • Walking an elderly persons dog for them • Putting their bins out the night before the ‘bin collection’ and putting them back in • Doing someone’s shopping when you do your own or picking up their prescription from the Chemist’s. • Clearing the leaves or snow from someone’s front door and path. • In spring and in warmer weather cutting someone’s lawn or tidying their garden • Telephoning someone to have a chat to make sure they are OK on a regular basis; this could be a Zoom call with some people. It’s about keeping in touch. We may be scattered but we are still connected as people and basic communication goes a long way to make sure someone does not feel neglected or forgotten. It helps with their mental as well as their physical wellbeing. • Litter picks around your community • Volunteering at your local food bank with collections of donations or packing up food parcels or helping with deliveries. • Writing a letter to someone in a care home or at home. Just writing a few kind words telling someone that its not just them who are isolated, a nice newsy letter can be written by anyone across the age continuum. • Organising donations of toiletries or clothes for the homeless, hostels and the NHS.

Here are some great Newport and Usk Vale Lions case studies

Find out more about Newport and Usk Vale Lions

Have a look at what Newport and Usk Vale Lions offer and also find out how you can help.

What is happening in the community

Find out more about events and support via Newport and Usk Vale Lions Facebook page.
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