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Volunteering is good for you!

Volunteering is good for you!

Adullam Homes is extremely grateful to the people who volunteer with us or who are members of the Friends of Adullam; they help people in need, they bring skills we don’t have in-house and provide a sustainable source of support for residents and service users who no longer qualify for statutory interventions, but do require help in order to maintain their independence.

What many volunteers don’t realise, however, is that while helping us, they are also doing themselves good.

The Five Ways to Well-being are a set of evidence-based messages aimed at improving people’s mental health and well-being. They were developed by the New Economics Foundation as the result of a commission by the Government and point to ways that people can look after their health and well-being in their everyday lives.

Believe it or not, volunteering can provide each of the five, which are: Connect - Be active - Take notice – Learn – Give.

Volunteering certainly helps you connect with other people. There is strong evidence that feeling close to, and valued by, other people are basic human needs and contribute to wellbeing.

Connecting with others helps you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth and gives you a chance to share positive experiences.

Interacting with other people prevents feelings of isolation and makes life more interesting, both important in helping prevent mental ill health.

Volunteering very often means you will be active without thinking about it or having to pay gym fees!

With Adullam, volunteers can be involved in workshops, learning sessions and trips out which include being on your feet and walking. You can soon increase your step count on a visit to a museum or urban farm!

Our volunteers can’t help but “Take notice” of the people and situations around them. 

Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being. Raised awareness also improves your self-understanding and allows you to make positive choices based on your own values and motivations.

As our story of Ash which we told yesterday demonstrates, people do learn new skills through volunteering with Adullam.

Sometimes this is a result of completing the tasks they are given or can be through helping at learning sessions. We also provide training to volunteers.

Volunteering also gives you the opportunity to learn or improve important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving, project planning, task management and organisation.

Learning something new makes you feel better about yourself, gives you a lift and can, of course, improve your job prospects.

The definition of volunteering includes the fifth way to well-being – give. To volunteer means to freely give time to benefit another person, group or organisation.

This definition suggests that the giving only benefits the recipient, but there is scientific evidence that shows it is also good for the giver.

In a 2006 US study, Jorge Moll and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health found that when people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect.

Scientists also believe that unselfish behaviour releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high.”

Over the past few weeks, people have found themselves giving more than ever before; doing shopping and tasks for vulnerable family, friends and neighbours, delivering care packages and carrying out tasks that pre-coronavirus were done by others.

The sense of well-being that this has generated has been talked about by many people too.

Once we are through this unprecedented period, let’s hope people continue to give their time to benefit others, and perhaps consider volunteering with Adullam Homes or the very many other worthy causes that need their help.