Many people volunteer throughout their working lives but others only start to do so when they retire. Volunteering is a two-way street, a win-win situation, and this is particularly true when applied to mature people. Volunteers are always needed and volunteering can bring a sense of purpose and fulfilment, particularly to those baby boomers and the like who find they have time on their hands.
It is all too easy for people to write off people who have retired. But many of them have skills and experience that are needed, particularly when it comes to volunteering. And an important thing to understand is that volunteering comes in many forms and can take place both at home and abroad.
Mature volunteers can bring experience, skills, and patience that younger people often do not have. And at the same time, they are frequently able to learn new skills and thus enhance their own lives as well as those of others.
Charity shops are probably the first place many people think of if you mention volunteering. And volunteers, including many mature people, are part of the lifeblood of such organisations. But volunteering opportunities and requirements go far beyond this.
Where volunteers have relevant experience and expertise they can fulfil roles as administrators, counsellors, art therapists, nurses, doctors, and gardener’s etc. Volunteer projects abroad include animal conservation and medical work. Such projects can be long-term but many run for only a few weeks or months. Mature volunteers can be a great asset for such projects.
Volunteering can be behind the scenes, e.g. Collecting and sorting items for charity shops and Food Banks etc. But it can also involve direct and personal contact, e.g. by befriending and helping needy people either by phone or personal contact.
And finally, one area of volunteering that perhaps does not come immediately to mind is helping at major events. Given that such events do not happen frequently e.g. Four years between the Olympics games and much longer if you wait for them to be your home games, opportunities for them are limited. However, there is no doubt they can be extremely fulfilling.
Would you consider volunteering? If so there are many opportunities and needs, and you may just be what a particular charity or organisation is looking for. Why not find out what there is you could do.
DO YOU ALREADY VOLUNTEER? If so why not tell us all about it? Who knows, by doing so you might persuade others to do the same.