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Volunteer spends time with elderly

Useful tips if you’re thinking about volunteering

In a previous article, James Coke tells us how the Motability Scheme got him back on the road and gave him the opportunity to give something back to his community through volunteering. If you’ve ever wondered how to get into volunteering read on here for James’ top tips. 

Where to start? Besides word of mouth or keeping your eyes peeled for volunteer vacancies, the internet is a great resource for establishing what charities or voluntary organisations are in your local area.

Research the different groups and find a link that brings you together. There are loads of groups out there who often require volunteers. Whether it’s form filling, community gardening or helping feed the homeless, find an organisation that’s mission and message resonate and inspire you.

Once you know what path you want to take and who with, ask yourself what skills you could bring to that organisation. It may be the case that you have experience in accountancy or administration. Perhaps you worked in marketing or the health care industry. All are areas which might be of interest to any group, so plan accordingly. Some people might think no-one is interested in them because they are unskilled or living with a chronic condition but don’t let that put you off. Everyone can have a part to play helping stimulate their own goals and others in the process.

Once you have established what you’ve got to offer and who you want to share it with, start looking at the logistics to make it happen. Work out when you can be available to give your time and make a note of any skills or resources that could assist you in your application. In my case it was the car leased through the Motability scheme, but another example could be gardening equipment you own. Always try to ensure the location or proximity of any position suits you and your needs. It’s always important to feel comfortable and to try and avoid stress, so always be aware of your limitations and never over extend yourself or take on too much.

As soon as all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed then don’t be shy, call up the organisation that is of interest to you. Most charities will have a volunteer organiser or someone dealing with recruitment, so make sure you find out who they are and speak to them directly. If they are unavailable leave a message or send an email introducing yourself or forward on your CV (Curriculum Vitae). Don’t be disheartened if people don’t get back to you immediately. Put a date in your diary and chase them up if necessary. If you are keen, affable and have something to back up your approach, it normally gets you on their radar.

Once a role has been established you might need to be patient – some positions working with children or vulnerable people require CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks and they can take a while. However by then your personality and abilities will have pried the door open, securing that rung on the ladder. Who knows where it’ll take you but with dedication and a bit of luck, it might be the start of something very special.

The Motability Scheme enables disabled people and their families to access a brand new car or scooter, by exchanging their mobility allowance to lease the vehicle of their choice. Find out more:

Get a free information pack

Why join the Scheme?

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How the Motability Scheme gave James Coke the opportunity to give back to his community through volunteering

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