More than 21m people in the UK do voluntary work at least once a year.
One Leeds resident who dedicates much more time than that is 25-year-old Kristen Dundon.
Though she works full time at the University of Leeds, she also volunteers for St Gemma’s Hospice and Support After Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds (SARSVL).
During Volunteers’ Week, Kristen is backing a drive by NHS Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group to encourage others to volunteer in their community.
She said: “If you want to do something different I would urge you to become a volunteer. There are many benefits to volunteering, the skills that you gain and the variety of work you get involved in, from vintage fairs to managing the charities social media accounts, it’s a rewarding role.
“Volunteering can be very flexible, I work full time and I tend to do evenings and weekends for St Gemma’s Hospice, which works well for me. One of the things that I like about volunteering is getting the chance to meet other great volunteers.”
Kristen gets involved with various activities at St Gemma’s, including helping out at vintage fairs and their first ‘Night at the Races’ event, and doing fundraising.
At SARSVL, which offers a helpline and advocacy services for women and girls who have been affected by sexual violence, she sits on their steering group, manages their social media account and runs fundraising campaigns.
“It’s not always easy juggling both charities but it’s absolutely worth it and I think the skills I have built and developed from each organisation complement each other well,” she added.
Philomena Corrigan, chief executive at NHS Leeds West CCG, said: “Volunteers’ Week is a great way to celebrate the work of volunteers. By becoming a volunteer you’ll be using your skills, talent and time to help other people in your community. Our Patient Leader Programme is a great volunteering role for those looking to support their NHS as you’ll be actively involved in the way we plan and fund services for people in Leeds.
“There many other opportunities in Leeds for people who want to volunteer.”
Visit Doing Good Leeds https://doinggoodleeds.org.uk/i-want-to-volunteer/ to find out about opportunities, or contact Volunteer Centre Leeds on 0113 395 0405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.