Valentine’s Day is approaching and what better way is there to share the love than to tell us what you love about volunteering!
In celebration of #lovevolunteering campaign, the Cynnal Cymru team are reflecting on their own volunteering experiences, sharing the positive benefits gained from an individual, business and community perspective.
If you volunteer or work with any volunteering related projects, please get involved on the 14th of February 2018 and tweet and post about why you #lovevolunteering #carugwirfoddoli tagging in @VolWales and @cynnalcymru
For businesses, supporting volunteering days for your employees, providing volunteering opportunities and positively recognising volunteering as a core skill in your recruitment process can have multiple benefits for your staff, business and wider community. For volunteers, the list of benefits is almost endless, as individuals that volunteer build personal and professional skills, improve their wellbeing and increase their understanding of others. Here at Cynnal Cymru we wanted to share just a few of the reason we love volunteering:
Rhodri Thomas, Principal Sustainability Consultant
Rhodri set up his own voluntary organisation when he was living in the Vale of Glamorgan for which he was the Chair. The organisation undertook litter picks, held guided nature walks and created a community orchard. More recently, Rhodri helped “friends of Radyr Woods” take up old rotten boardwalks to be replaced by new materials. His other voluntary experiences include support for the charity Sustainable Wales, being a volunteer mentor for the Prince of Wales charity Prime Cymru, being a board member and trustee for Volcano Theatre and helping the Uprising initiative which aims to help young people develop entrepreneurial skills in relation to the environment.
“Volunteering sometimes feels like an effort and a chore but afterwards, when you look back, it makes you feel very satisfied knowing that you have helped people or your community. You know that you have enriched the society in which you live and also, you have enriched your own life, broadening your perspective and developing patience and empathy.”
Lynsey Jackson, Marketing Manager
Lynsey has been involved with a number of voluntary initiatives over the last 10 years, where she combines her creative skills with knowledge-sharing. She was co-founder of thinkARK a voluntary group using creative and collaborative approaches to develop small scale community projects. She was co-organiser and volunteer at Trade School Cardiff – an alternative learning and sharing skills space where people exchange skills through a non monetary barter system. She was also co-founder of Geek Speak Cardiff, a sociable social media group that supported people working in the third sector to learn and share knowledge with new digital tools. More recently Lynsey has joined her local litter picking group Keep Riverside Tidy and last year launched a new podcast (Seismic Wales) with three friends to share sustainability stories featuring good people doing great things across Wales.
“I haven’t opted for a traditional volunteering path but for me, volunteering my time through a variety of different projects has been a fun and creative process that has allowed me to test and develop new skills in a safe and friendly space, as well as helping to provide opportunities for others to get involved. I’ve made so many good friends and contacts along the way and each experience has informed the next from ARK to Trade School to Seismic Wales. It has been a steady progression of learning and sharing skills.”
Clare Sain-ley-Berry, Invest In Nature (Working in partnership with Cynnal Cymru)
Clare currently volunteers as a parent governor at Moorland Primary School to support the teaching staff to give pupils the best experience possible. It helps to share perspectives from other organisations that she has worked for in terms of processes and policies and also to bring fresh eyes to any long-standing problems that the school might be facing.
“For me, I have gained so many insights into the challenges that schools face and find it really rewarding to support such a dedicated team.”
Bethan Harvey, Projects and Events Administrator
I did a lot of volunteering whilst at University to add to my C.V before moving into the working world. This included serving drinks and speaking Welsh at coffee mornings for Welsh learners at Ty Tawe in Swansea. I still chose to volunteer after getting a job and chose to offer emotional and practical support to victim’s of hate crime with Victim Support. This was a rewarding experience which provided me with full training and allowed me to give back to those in need.
“I would definitely recommend volunteering for those who feel that their CV’s need padding out. It also helps to improve self-esteem and well-being as you are often doing something good and worthwhile whilst helping others.”
The #iwill Campaign
Cynnal Cymru is proud to be working with the Wales Council for Voluntary Action WCVA and Volunteering Wales to raise awareness of the #iwill campaign and to provide practical support to businesses wanting to embed youth social action (like volunteering, fundraising or campaigning) as part of their corporate social responsibility strategy. We are keen to hear from businesses in Wales that are interested in supporting the #iwill campaign.
The #iwill campaign is a collective effort involving over 900 organisations from the public, voluntary, education and business sectors with a vision to make meaningful social action part of life for all 10- to 20-year olds by the year 2020. In addition to Defra and the ZSL, organisations pledging to support #iwill4nature include Action for Conservation, Canal & River Trust, Global Action Plan, Groundwork, The Wildlife Trust, WWF, Royal Botanical Gardens and more.
The #iwill campaign was launched in 2013 with cross-party and multi-sector support after research into how the business, education, public and voluntary sectors could support young
people to engage in social action.
The #iwill campaign is coordinated by Step Up To Serve, a charity registered in England & Wales (no. 1154588). For more information, visit www.iwill.org.uk and follow @iwill_campaign[:]