Future Voices: Sorting volunteering fact from volunteering fiction

Young people enjoying a GVI UK volunteering adventure abroad.

Young people enjoying a GVI UK volunteering adventure abroad. - Credit: Archant

Voluntary work is something that a lot of us think about. I'm here to help put to bed some of the myths and rumours that stop people from giving it a go.

Myth 1

One person won't make a difference. This is a huge common misconception. People believe that the problem is 'too big'. Contributing to a worthy cause, even a small contribution, will make a difference. One kind act can have a profound effect on someone's life. You'll never be alone in volunteering, so get involved with an organisation that resonates with your values.

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Myth 2

You have to commit long-term. Not true. Some voluntary placements offer flexibility and a short term commitment. Some even offer one-off opportunities, such as organising events. Whether it's one evening a fortnight or one Saturday a month, you'll be left feeling like you've done a good deed, but you'll make others feel good too.

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Myth 3

You need 'specific skills'. The only skills you need are a good attitude and a desire to help. As long as you really care about helping people, you'll do a good job and you'll learn important skills along the way. Volunteering is about harnessing your passion. Just because you aren't a world champion at knitting doesn't mean you can't volunteer at the local nursing home.

Myth 4

Voluntary work is boring. Volunteering is fun, as long as you find something you enjoy doing. You get to meet new people and work together as a team. There are vast amounts of opportunities available for every different kind of person: tutoring, disaster relief, home building. Volunteering is not always about grooming strangers' dogs and manning cake stands.

Volunteering is what you make of it, and as long as you have the desire to help you can make a difference in other people's lives.

Joe Hamilton, 16, Wolterton

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