What's volunteering really all about?
What does a typical volunteer look like and why do they do what they do?
If you were to stop someone at random in the street and ask them for an answer to this question it’s highly likely that their answer would make reference to a kindly older person looking to give something back in their retirement years.
They certainly wouldn’t be wrong (this description fits well with thousands of valued volunteers across the country) but they’d also be a long way from understanding to the true meaning of volunteering and the transformative impact it can have on people’s lives. The truth is that volunteers come from all walks of life and virtually all adult age groups. This is especially true of the more than 250 volunteers we work with every year.
In short, there is far more to volunteering than meets the eye. As this week is National Volunteers Week it seems the perfect opportunity to get this one simple message across. To this end we have organised what promises to be a fun and informative exhibition at our volunteering centre in Bentinck Road, Nottingham, at midday on Friday, June 7.
This event, which will feature an exhibition of art (poems, photography, films and other works) from more than a dozen volunteers, provides the perfect opportunity for people to come and learn what volunteering with Framework is really all about.
The title of that exhibition is “Your Volunteer Journey – yesterday, today, tomorrow” and that is a very apt title because volunteering really can be the beginning of a life-changing journey for people. It really is about so much more than the giving of something for nothing.
Sure enough, some of our volunteers give up their time purely to “give something back,” but the motivation for many others is based unashamedly on what volunteering can do for them and how it can improve their lives. Indeed, here are just a few of the reasons people volunteer with us:
- To boot their self-confidence and self-esteem
- To gain work experience
- To overcome barriers that have prevented them from working
- To gain specific skills in pursuit or a particular career
- To improve their lives.
Our role is not merely to match their enthusiasm and commitment to a specific role, but (more importantly) to ensure that volunteers’ experience helps them to achieve the goals they have set for themselves – goals that are set during an initial interview and induction process.
In short, volunteering really can have a transformative impact on people’s lives. Take, for example, the stories of Simon and Becka, who were both able to put periods of homelessness behind them and find fulfilling careers thanks to volunteering opportunities at Framework.
Rosaleen, who was almost made homeless after a personal crisis, has used a volunteering to improve her well-being and confidence. Her's is just one of the stories featured at the exhibition. See her film below.
While these opportunities are unpaid, we invest many thousands of pounds each year to ensure that are volunteers get the vital funding they need. This can pay for things like travel expenses and childcare costs – things that in many cases may prevent somebody from taking the many opportunities that volunteering can present.
As the manager of Framework’s volunteering service I am incredibly proud of the results that we achieve and the people that we help. All I ask in return is that people have a genuine passion for the work we do in their communities.
If you would like to learn more about volunteering with Framework I would be delighted to meet you on Friday at 36, Bentinck Road, Nottingham. Alternatively, click here to learn more.
Thanks for reading.