Why is volunteering important?
Headway Derby relies on the generosity and skill of volunteers and is incredibly happy to have the support of so many wonderful people. Some of our team volunteer a couple of times a week, others micro volunteer to help with specific events and campaigns. Further to this we also offer placements to both undergraduate and post graduate students, primarily from the University of Derby, but also from other education institutions further afield like Staffordshire University and Manchester Metropolitan University.
So, what are the benefits of volunteering?
Of course, the benefits of volunteering for Headway Derby are clear. Whether it’s digging a beetroot patch at the allotment, supporting learners as they navigate their way through the Rediscovering My Brain education course, or answering the telephone and making sure our post flows freely; the benefits to the brain injury community are possibly part of the reason why you decide to volunteer with us in the first place.
1. Volunteering connects you with others
If you’re feeling a little lonely, isolated, or simply want to widen your social circle, volunteering in your local community is an important – and often fun – way to meet new people. In fact, one of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together, and volunteering lets you do just that.
If you’ve recently moved to Derby or Derbyshire, volunteering could be a really great way to meet new people and strengthen ties to your new community; as well as broadening your support network. Furthermore, it connects you to people who have common interests and passions and who could go on to become great friends.
2. Volunteering builds self-confidence and self-esteem
Doing good for others and the community helps to create a natural sense of accomplishment, and working as a volunteer for Headway Derby can also give you a sense of pride and identity, helping to boost your self-confidence further by taking you out of your natural comfort zone and environment.
Volunteering can help you to feel better about yourself, which you can then flow back to your other routines, hopefully creating a more positive view of your own life and future goals. If you’re shy or fearful of new experiences, cultures and travel, volunteering could be an important and insightful way to help you build self-confidence.
“If you’re feeling lonely or simply want to widen your social circle, volunteering with Headway Derby could be an important and fun way to meet new people.”
3. Volunteering is important for physical health
Our Volunteers tell us they see distinct health benefits that boost their mental and physical health. Indeed, a growing body of evidence suggests that people who give their time to others might benefit from lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan. A 1999 study showed that ‘high volunteers’ (helping out at two or more organizations) had a 63 per cent lower mortality rate than non-volunteers. And more recent research (2013) from Carnegie Mellon University found that adults over 50 who volunteered regularly were less likely to develop high blood pressure (hypertension) compare to non-volunteers. Hypertension is an important indicator of health as it contributes to stroke, heart disease and premature death.
4. …and mental health
When it comes to volunteering being important for mental health, the benefits are clear. It can help counteract the effects of stress, depression and anxiety. The social contact aspect of helping others can have a really positive effect on your overall psychological well-being.
Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn combats against feelings of loneliness and depression.
5. Volunteering is important for a sense of purpose
Because volunteering means choosing to work without receiving monetary compensation, people often choose to give their time to issues or organisations they feel are important or have a special connection to.
Volunteering like this with Headway Derby helps to connect the brain injury community and bring isolated people together to support one another by sharing skills, knowledge and understanding.
6. Volunteering can boost your career
In an increasingly competitive job market, volunteering experience can be incredibly useful. It shows potential employers that you can take initiative and that you’re willing to give your own time to improve the world for other people.Headway Derby connect with colleagues in many ways