LETTER: do not underestimate the value of volunteering


Schools and colleges are breaking up and many students are now thinking about the years ahead. Some may be thinking about a ‘gap year’ before university, while others might be thinking about how best to get a foothold in the world of work. Whatever the choices facing school-leavers at the moment, I’d like to put in a word for volunteering as a really valuable and rewarding option.

I work for a fantastic national charity called Vitalise. We provide much-needed respite breaks for people with disabilities and carers from across the UK. We simply couldn’t do what we do without the help of the thousands of volunteers.

Charities like Vitalise undoubtedly benefit from the contribution of volunteers, but our own research has discovered that volunteers benefit in many ways from the experience too. We found that volunteering improves peoples’ job prospects, inspires them to get more involved in their communities and leaves them feeling more confident and well-rounded as individuals.

In many cases volunteering can turn young lives around and set people on a more positive course in life.

So the current crop of school leavers looking to get started on their chosen career paths could do a lot worse than consider volunteering for worthy causes like Vitalise to give them an all-important edge on the competition.

For more info call 0303 303 0147 or email volunteer@vitalise.org.uk.

Colin Brook