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International Volunteers Day – Why is Volunteering Important?

  • Tuesday, December 5, 2023
  • Posted By Refugee Employability Programme
International Volunteers Day 2023 (1)

Did you know that the first instance of volunteerism dates back to medieval Europe? A time when religion and healthcare went hand in hand. By the 18th century, volunteering was recognised more within the military service, and this is when modern day volunteering began. Organisations like the Red Cross and Y.M.C.A started to collect donations, gain volunteers, and get involved in charity work and society really started to understand why volunteering is important.

Today, the 5th of December 2023, is International Volunteers Day, a day to celebrate, thank people around the globe who contribute their time to voluntary services and recognise why volunteering is important. The day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly back in December 1985 and since then, governments, the UN system and civil service organisations have successfully raised awareness of volunteers around the world to mark the annual event.

The goal is not just to encourage more people across the world to start volunteering but to change people’s mindsets, attitudes, and behaviours as well and to really convey how important volunteering is. By doing this, we create more advocates of change and become partners in building a better world.

Often people wonder how they can support International Volunteers Day, here are some of the ways that you can get involved:

1. Donate to a volunteer organisation.
Donations help volunteer organisations continue to finance and run their operations. You can contribute to this by donating money to support vulnerable groups, frontline workers, and essential services.

2. Get involved in volunteer work.
Take an active role by volunteering within your community. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities that you can take part in, and many organisations like the Growth Company offer a couple of days a year for you to dedicate to volunteer work.

So, what are the benefits of volunteering?

1. It eases stress.
Volunteering connects you with others and builds a support base, which helps lower depression and stress.

2. Volunteers are happier people.

Volunteers tend to be happier than non-volunteers, and this goes up by 12% among people who volunteer every 2-4 weeks. Source;

3. Reduced mortality rates.

Volunteering especially amongst the elderly, helps reduce mortality rates and contributes to a long, fulfilled life.

4. Chronic pain management.

Clinical research shows that volunteering positively affects general health and chronic pain management.

5. Volunteers are more likely to find employment.

Volunteers are 27% more likely to find employment than those who don’t volunteer. Source;

Why is volunteering important? Volunteering is important as it helps to create a better future for us all. By setting a good example through volunteering, we contribute to building a better world and setting a positive example for future generations. At the end of the day, no one has all the answers to complex global problems, but when we work together to help improve them, we’re more likely to create lasting solutions. Finally, when you volunteer, you will inspire others to do so as well. When people see how much volunteering positively impacts their society, it helps to convey the importance and inspire others to get involved.

Many of our colleagues here at the Refugee Employability Programme and the Growth Company have taken part in volunteering, one of those is Engagement Coordinator Yuliia Illiashenko. Yuliia has previously volunteered on the Snowdrop Project, a charity that provides long term support to survivors of human trafficking. Each month the charity funds a renovation project for a client, and the volunteers then complete the renovation.

Of why volunteering is important, Yuliia said “volunteering with the Snowdrop Project to help people affected by human trafficking and transform their places into homes has been a deeply rewarding experience. Witnessing the resilience of individuals who are rebuilding their lives is inspiring. Every effort to create a warm and welcoming environment contributes to their healing process.

“I believe in the power of volunteering to make a tangible difference in the lives of others. I highly recommend volunteering to anyone seeking a meaningful way to contribute to their community and make a positive impact on the lives of those in need.”

Hopefully, we have opened your eyes to the positive impact volunteering can have on not just your community, but the whole world too. Our Refugee Employability Programme is actively seeking volunteers to play a crucial role within the programme, supporting refugees to rebuild their lives, gain work and become part of the community. You can find out more about our volunteering opportunities by contacting us using our Contact Us form.