Health: ‘We all have time to volunteer’

British Heart Foundation volunteer Ken Downing ahead of a fundraiser at Pudsey Carnival. Picture by Tony Johnson.
British Heart Foundation volunteer Ken Downing ahead of a fundraiser at Pudsey Carnival. Picture by Tony Johnson.
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We should all be able to spare a few hours a week to support a good cause.

Volunteering is on the rise in the UK, with around 15million people giving their time to help others every month.

In some ways its rise can be seen as a negative, a sign that some people have no option but to volunteer in order to build their CVs as they struggle for work and that people in poverty are in need of help more than ever.

In many more ways I’d like to think that the continued growth of volunteer numbers has more to do with the selfless attitude that many people in the UK have, particularly when it comes to charitable causes.

Charities supporting vital health research rely on the will of volunteers, but it’s something that can also benefit those who do it.

Whether you’re retired and feel in need of something to keep you active or working and want to feel like you’re giving back, the self satisfaction of doing a good job and helping someone else is priceless.

That feeling you get when you help someone up from a fall – that’s how you can benefit.

Advents like businesses offering workers the chance to give a day of their time to others are an example of a growing selflessness – even in business.

This week is Volunteers’ Week, where charities across the land are among the organisations celebrating the work of existing volunteers and calling on new recruits.

There are thousands of people across Yorkshire, many of whom I’ve met at charities such as St George’s Crypt and Cancer Research UK in Leeds, that are shining examples.

Helping others is invaluable, and something we should all aspire to. Volunteers are the lifeblood of our communities.

HUGE IMPACT OF UK VOLUNTEERS

Volunteers’ Week runs from June 1 to 7 this year. This year marks the 31st year of the celebration.

Last year the event was marked by almost 500 event nationwide including awards ceremonies, barbecues and roadshows.

More than 15million people volunteer in the UK every month.

Between 2012 and 2013 volunteering contributed an estimated £23.9billion to the UK economy, equivalent to 1.5 per cent of GDP.

This year volunteers are encouraged to share their stories and experiences on social media using the hashtag #ivolunteer.

For further information visit volunteersweek.org.

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