Guest Blog: How volunteering can support wellbeing

By Bethan Warrington from GAVO

Hello! My name is Bethan Warrington and I am the Volunteering Officer for GAVO in Monmouthshire. My role is to work with charities to make sure they have everything they need in place to help them recruit and look after volunteers. I also work with individuals who are looking to volunteer but aren’t sure where to start, by helping them find opportunities they will enjoy and feel valued.

GAVO have a Volunteering and Youth Volunteering Officer, who are always happy to help, in:

  • Monmouthshire
  • Newport
  • Blaenau Gwent
  • Caerphilly

Volunteer’s Week 1st – 7th June

Volunteer’s Week is especially important as it’s the opportunity for organisations to celebrate and thank their wonderful volunteers, supporting their wellbeing. This can be done by: giving them a shout out on social media, hosting an event such as a movie night and making them VIP guests, providing snacks and refreshments for volunteers at events they support, or by signing them up to GAVO’s Recognition Scheme!

If you are a volunteer, why not take the time to treat yourself this week? Run yourself a hot bath and use your favourite bath bomb, set aside some time to listen to your favourite podcast, make a surprise visit to a friend and buy that sweat treat you’ve been eyeing up in the local bakery! YOU DESERVE IT!

So, how can volunteering help your wellbeing?

When people talk about the impact of volunteering, we often hear about how it benefits the people in need. What is not highlighted enough, is how amazing it is for the volunteer! Volunteering with a community group or charity you are passionate about is a fantastic way to spend your spare time and reduce loneliness. By volunteering, you are likely to:

  • Meet like-minded people
  • Increase your confidence
  • Work in a team
  • Make friends
  • Have fun!

Enjoy being picky and choosing the role that will benefit your wellbeing as well as help the community!

Volunteering comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether it is volunteering in a charity shop and engaging with customers, joining a telephone befriending service, or using your technical skills to help a charity update their website, volunteering should always make a positive impact on your own wellbeing. There are a number of ways to dedicate your spare time to others, so take your time choosing the right opportunity for you.

The Volunteering Wales website is a fantastic tool to browse volunteering opportunities in your area. If you would like to volunteer but don’t know what is available, you can find out here:

https://bit.ly/volunteeringwales

REMEMBER, volunteering should ALWAYS be a win-win!

The benefits of volunteering for young people – Chris Irving

The benefits of volunteering are increasingly being widely recognised as an activity that can make a significant difference to our own wellbeing and personal growth while making an impact in our communities. Many young people now have a wider awareness of many of the issues that affect their lives. These can include the environment, culture, arts, sport, food poverty and social injustice.

Volunteering provides young people with the perfect opportunity to get involved, make a difference, develop skills for the workplace and have fun along the way. There are a huge and diverse range of volunteering opportunities available throughout Gwent and GAVO and we are here to support you to find the perfect opportunity.

So, if you are 14 plus, we would love to hear from you for an informal chat.

If you would like to volunteer, here are some opportunities in Gwent:

  • Monmouthshire
    Volunteering for Wellbeing is a programme run by The Bridges Centre, Monmouth. There are plenty of opportunities to make a positive impact on the wellbeing of the community while looking after your own!
    Contact marianne.piper@bridgescentre.org.uk or visit https://bit.ly/VolunteeringForWellbeing to find out more.
  • Newport
    The (Future) Wales Coast Path are looking for lighthouse keepers in Newport (and Monmouthshire)! They’re running a series of creative events and conversations exploring our relationship with land and water. What a great opportunity to meet new people, do something different and help the environment! Email futurewalescoast@gmail.com for more information.
  • Caerphilly
    Tarraggan Educational Gardens are looking for volunteers to support them with gardening, painting and maintenance! Post Covid, it is time to look forward, have a focus, engage in something fun and educational while socialising with others. Where better to do this than outdoors! Volunteer Gardener/Painter/Maintenance – Bargoed (volunteering-wales.net)
  • Blaenau Gwent
    The Happy Cafe at Aberbeeg Community Centre is ready to welcome friendly volunteers who can make tea & toast and chat with those that come along. The Cafe is part of a scheme encouraging community connections and inclusion. What a lovely way to spend a morning and maybe make some new friends!  You can find out more about the opportunity and apply here: https://gwent.volunteering-wales.net/volunteers/opportunity/10180250 or email patriciatovey@googlemail.com.

 How to contact your local GAVO officer:

Area

Role

Name

Email Address

Phone Number

Monmouthshire

Volunteer Officer

Bethan Warrington

bethan.warrington@gavo.org.uk

07376023546

Monmouthshire

Youth Volunteer Officer

Chris Irving

chris.irving@gavo.org.uk

07483 128060 

Newport

Volunteer Officer

Currently Recruiting

Currently Recruiting

Currently Recruiting

Newport

Youth Volunteer Officer

Claire Turner

claire.turner@gavo.org.uk

07376 023365

Caerphilly

Volunteer Officer

Caren White

caren@gavo.org.uk

074831 28064 

Blaenau Gwent

Volunteer Officer

Caragh Porter

caragh.porter@gavo.org.uk

07483128080

Caerphilly & Blaenau Gwent

Youth Volunteer Officer

Gareth Edwards-Lowe

gareth.edwards-lowe@gavo.org.uk

07376023660

Thank you for reading!

I really hope you have enjoyed finding out about how volunteering can be used as a tool improve wellbeing. Thank you very much for reading the blog, and I really hope that you feel inspired to volunteer. Please do contact the GAVO Volunteering team to let us know your thoughts!