Many of us volunteer for many different reasons, a passion to support a cause that is close to our heart, something that may have affected our own family, a local community cause like saving a service under threat from closure – local libraries for example.
What about building our own skills set, especially in developing a new career? Personally through my experience of seeing my Uncle struggle with Dementia, and the fact I was a carer a few years ago I read something that really caught my attention. The Alzheimer’s Society were looking for volunteers on their new ‘side by side’ project. They wanted people just with a few hours a week to take a person with dementia out for a coffee, local garden centre or anything that would make their day more enjoyable, as well as giving a couple of hours respite for a carer. I did it and it helps me run a better business as well as enjoying a nice long walk with somebody whose health means they would find it difficult, if not impossible to do.
There are many benefits of being a volunteer, and yes I benefit from a business support programme that builds my skills in growing a successful business, but for anyone considering starting a business, that in my case has societal benefits, and because of what I experienced personally volunteering has some ‘hidden’ benefits as well as helping my own health. I am just finishing of a year long Lloyds Bank/National Lottery School for Social Entrepreneurs programme, this combined with support from the University of Northampton and Volunteering really does make a difference to my business.