VOLUNTEERING CAN BE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

21st February 2010

VOLUNTEERING CAN BE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

 

Looking to chase away the winter blues? Need a health boost but not a gym bunny or a fan of diets? Why not try volunteering as a way to boost your health and well-being.

 

One of the many side effects of volunteering is that it can do wonders for your mental and physical well-being. Recent research reveals that a fifth of volunteers surveyed reported an increase in general health and almost a third reported increased self-confidence. Doing a good deed for others keeps you active too and you can get to make new friends, both of which can lead to a greater sense of well-being.

 

TimeBank, the national volunteering charity, found that a quarter of people aged between 35 and 44 volunteer to improve their health.

 

Helen Walker, Chief Executive, TimeBank, says,

 

“People often say they are surprised that they got a lot more out of volunteering than they put in. It's great for physical and mental well-being. Environmental tasks such as beach clean-ups can help you get fit, and facing new challenges is a confidence booster.

 

“Furthermore, in these challenging economic times volunteering can be a great way of empowering people who have been made redundant by restoring their sense of self-worth – volunteering can help develop new skills, maintain a sense of routine and ultimately provide a reason to get out of bed in the morning!”

 

Dorothy Atcheson, a personal and professional development coach, says,

 

'Volunteering does wonders for your mind, body and spirit. Especially if you're feeling isolated or out on a limb after a big change - like a redundancy, say, or change of relationship - it's a way to plug yourself in again and get charged up. Sometimes just getting out to meet new people and try new things can help you feel more connected, happy and confident. Lots of places offer physical types of volunteer work too, which is great for fitness. One of my clients recently started volunteering on a project with disadvantaged young people, working outdoors on a city farm. She spent the whole evening outside with these kids doing physical work, and she came to our session the next day with a huge smile, still buzzing with the energy from it.'

 

Volunteer, Anna-Morelle Grey says,

 

“Volunteering offers experience that money can’t buy - it really prepared me for the real world of paid work. Not only did it help me decide the career I wanted to pursue and provide me with a foot in the door but it had an enormous effect on my wellbeing too.  I was out of work after I gave up my career in retail and as a result felt really alone and isolated. Volunteering gave me a sense of self-worth and normality again – it’s empowering because it’s a means of learning and developing new skills.”

 

For support and ideas on ways to volunteer log on to www.timebank.org.uk

 

For media enquiries including spokespeople and images please contact Heidi Budino on 0207 785 6388 or email h.budino@timebank.org.uk

 

Notes to Editors

 

  • TimeBank (www.timebank.org.uk) is the national volunteering charity that supports and inspires people to volunteer in ways that match their skills and suit their lives

 

  • A study has revealed that volunteer work has numerous positive psychological benefits “such as increasing psychological detachment from paid work, and fulfilling important psychological needs such the need to connect with others, autonomy and competence.” Published on 15th February 2010 in the Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology.

Institute of Psychiatry of King’s College London (2007)

TimeBank surveyed 700 volunteers across the UK on the reasons why they volunteer. October 2009