Advice + Info
Anyone can volunteer, all you need is some spare time. Volunteering is like work, but you don't get paid. So what's the point?
Well, different people volunteer for different reasons, but most will tell you it's a great way to get work experience, gain new skills, meet new people, broaden your horizons or just for the buzz of doing something worthwhile and enjoyable. It could also count towards qualifications or programs such as the service section in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.
It's possible to do pretty much anything you like as a volunteer. Whatever you're into, there's bound to be an organisation out there looking for people like you to join in. Volunteering is just giving your time for free to do something that benefits other people or the environment. So, whether it's being part of your school or college's student council, helping out at your local old folk's home or skydiving for charity, there are literally thousands of ways and places you can volunteer!
Volunteering really gives you the edge when you are applying for jobs/courses because you have the proof that you can work, unlike all those people who apply who cannot show this - who would you employ? Now, with so many applicants for every job/course, this is more important than ever!
Alternatively, if doing your own thing is more your kind of thing, there are loads of organisations out there who can give you the latest advice on starting your own enterprise. Some of them might even have money to help you get started!
Volunteering opportunities on the web
Here are a few sites that will help anyone looking to volunteer:
www.do-it.org.uk - Lots of stuff about volunteering and it lets you search a huge database of current opportunities by type, what you're interested in and distance from your house!
www.vinspired.com - 'v' is the national charity for young people's volunteering, so their site is pretty definitive. Keyfund provided by 4Youth in North Yorkshire can also help, so check out their page too.
www.nyy.org.uk - North Yorkshire Youth have a team of advisers who help create new opportunities for young people to volunteer and give you plenty of tips on how to do it yourself. You can even volunteer to help them do that.
www.csv.org.uk - 'CSV' stands for 'Community Service Volunteers'. CSV is the UK's largest volunteering and training organisation. The site contains info on opportunities, case studies, news and campaigns.
www.btcv.org - The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers is a leading UK environmental charity. Details of local volunteering opportunities, work in schools and with young people and communities, and even jobs with the BTCV are available on the site.
www.princes-trust.org.uk - The Prince's Trust volunteer programme offers people aged between 16 and 25 the chance to take part in volunteer courses designed to enhance your skills, confidence, and to discover new talents.
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