The Power of Volunteering in the Community

We’ve been reading a lot about voluntary work recently, and we came across an article that made interesting reading – even though it dates back over a decade. In 2004, the Guardian reported on research that seemed to indicate a link between volunteering and happier communities.

The whole idea of volunteering is to do good for other people. Maybe the results of the research shouldn’t come as a surprise, then. But volunteering generally leads us to think of helping specific individuals, rather than society and our communities. The research indicates this isn’t the case, and that the more voluntary work is done in an area, the greater the chance the people in that area will have a better quality of life.

Image courtesy of Bethany Carlson

It seems obvious that taking part in voluntary work makes us feel better. We feel we’re doing something to help others and to help our communities. It is also known that volunteering can help people feel better physically and mentally in lots of different ways. So, while you may approach the idea of volunteering for one specific reason, you could get far more out of it than you’d think.

While we cannot definitively prove there is a direct link between volunteering and greater levels of satisfaction with life, there does seem to be plenty of evidence for this. Crime levels were found to be lower in areas with higher levels of volunteering. It’s not clear why this is the case, but it’s a great outcome. Could it be that people of all ages are benefiting from volunteering and making more use of their time? Or does it mean the community is improving in lots of ways, and this discourages crime in the area?

Whatever the reasons might be, the Thrift Urban Housing team has seen first-hand how beneficial volunteering can be. With programmes including the Befriending Scheme up and running and doing well in the London boroughs, we’ve experienced many successful outcomes from our voluntary efforts, and from those who have helped us. Visit the befriending website now if you think you can help.

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