The value of volunteering

A group of volunteers stand in a circle holding out seedlings that they are planting

Finding the time to volunteer whilst already having very busy lives can be tricky! With the sudden change in how we work and being able to work remotely, volunteering is becoming more accessible and easier to fit into our everyday lives.

There are so many reasons to volunteer that benefit not only the organisation but the volunteers too. Some important benefits can be…

Making friends

Volunteering can really widen your social circle and it can be an important and easy way for you to meet new people whilst having common interests and goals. It could also connect you with people that you would not normally meet in your day to day life and enables you to build a strong support system which can help with loneliness and isolation. 

Improving your mental health 

Volunteering is said to be quite beneficial for good mental health and can help with the effects of stress, depression and anxiety by increasing a sense of purpose, self confidence and building a support system. Volunteering with animals especially has been recommended to reduce stress and anxiety.

Read more about the mental health benefits of volunteering in this article from UCL’s student union.

Future prospects 

With the effects of the pandemic making the job market very competitive, volunteering can be incredibly useful. Not only does it teach you new skills that could help with a job that you are interested in but also make you stand out from other applicants.

If you have left school or just graduated and you’re looking for a job, volunteering can be an important and relatively easy way to get a foot in the door of a company you’d like to work with and help you build connections. 

Did you know TSR has a team of volunteers?

TSR is very lucky to have an incredible team of volunteers with different roles, including specialist trained teams that help keep the site safe and offer invaluable advice and support to our users from the comfort of their own homes. These are some of the roles that volunteers do on TSR:

  • Volunteer section leaders work closely with the community team to help generate ideas to make TSR a helpful and useful resource for students, while looking after the team of volunteers in their specialist sections whether that be Life around Learning, Unis or Study Help.
  • Volunteer team members work with the volunteer section leaders to make sure students are getting the most out of TSR. They lead on projects, competitions, write advice articles and help to make sure members of the community are happy and supported.
  • Forum helpers are members of the TSR community, who provide great help and support in their favourite forums. They also help to keep those forums tidy and easy to use, and help make sure newbies get answers to their questions. These helpers are often young people themselves, or have particular experience in that area, so can provide some great peer-to-peer advice based on their own knowledge.
  • Peer support volunteer team members are trained by The Samaritans to support the most vulnerable members of our community. 
  • Ucas-trained advisers who provide personal and helpful advice, especially during results and clearing.
  • We've also got our editorial support team, personal statement helpers, the list goes on...

These are a few things some of our volunteers say about volunteering for TSR

‘’I love TSR because it's insane how I feel like I am helping so many people from just where I'm sitting.’’

‘’I really love volunteering on TSR. It has given me a sense of scale of the sheer volume of different ways this site can help people, of the varied experiences of young people across the country and of how many people are supported in some way on TSR every single day.

"Being part of the team has also really humbled me by seeing the dedication and commitment of others, and the wealth of expertise that young people hold when they work together. I've seen people supported with everything from relationship issues, GCSE choices, learning to drive, fixing a computer, finding graduate employment or applying for a PhD. What an amazing feeling to be part of that team’’
 
“Being able to have a positive impact on students really makes me feel good about myself, and I'm determined to carry on for as long as possible. I always feel like I'm being supported, not only by regular members and volunteers but also staff, so to be able to give something back to all 3 groups of people is just a truly wonderful thing.’’

Do you want to volunteer?

If you're considering volunteering, think about what causes you are really passionate about such as animal welfare or mental health. This means you’ll likely be committed to the role you take on.

Whether you want to be part of a one off project or an ongoing role, think about the time you're willing to commit and choose opportunities that are realistically able to fit around your routine.

Think about what skill set you can offer and what you'd like to gain from volunteering before choosing a role.

Do IT is a good place to start, where you're able to match opportunities to a specific skill set and find causes you care about. 

Good luck on your volunteer search! Always remember to have fun, reap the benefits of volunteering and most importantly enjoy what you’re doing too. 

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