Put simply, volunteering is giving up some of your time, for free, to help others. This could be 'formal' volunteering (like volunteering for a charity or community organisation) or 'informal' volunteering (like caring for a relative or regularly helping a neighbour with shopping).
Why volunteering is important
Volunteering has many benefits, but one of the key things it does is allow voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations to deliver their services on very small budgets. There are many VCS groups, projects and charities who simply wouldn't be able to help the community without the generosity of people who are willing to give up their time to help others. With less and less funding available, volunteers are absolutely essential to the success and survival of the local VCS.
Here are some of the successful events that could not have happened in Leicester and Leicestershire without the support of volunteers:
- The reinterment of Richard III: After the remains of King Richard III were discovered in Leicester, the city held a series of events around his reinterment in Leicester Cathedral. 70 volunteers (one of whom travelled over 10,000 miles!) gave up 695 hours to support the historic events which helped to put Leicester on the international stage.
- The 2015 Rugby World Cup: When the Rugby World Cup came to Leicester in 2015, we worked with partners to develop a programme of over 350 volunteers to help support visitors to the city and ensure the events around the World Cup games ran smoothly.
What benefits does volunteering have?
Volunteering can be hugely beneficial for both individuals and communities. Volunteers may allow organisations to deliver important coommunity services they wouldn't otherwise be able to, and individuals may gain skills, confidence and even improved wellbeing by offering their time. You can find out more about the benefits of volunteering on our Benefits of Volunteering page.
Corporate social responsibility
Many large organisations create programmes to allocate a certain number of hours per year where staff can volunteer within the local community. This is often referred to as corporate social responsibility. We've worked extensively with George at ASDA to support their staff in volunteering with local groups in Leicester and Leicestershire. You can find out more about how we can support organisations on our Employee Volunteering page.