Are you an Informal Volunteer?

53% of us volunteer informally, but don’t even know it!

As it is National Volunteers Week this week I thought it would be a great chance to reflect on other ways people volunteer. Informal volunteering is defined as ‘giving unpaid help to someone who is not a relative’. And according to research undertaken by NCVO, 53% of us have done so at least once.

So, what does this mean and what does it look like?

People mainly volunteered locally (81% according to NCVO), it is likely that it was good Samaritan type deed such as;

·         Picking up some shopping for a neighbour

·         Babysitting for a friend

·         Giving somebody a lift to an appointment

·         Doing a spot of gardening for a disabled person

I’m sure we can all relate to having participated in undertakings such as these.Were you aware this is classed as volunteering? Interestingly I’m sure we all still feel that natural high from having done a good deed, just the same as when formally volunteering through an organisation, as it has been proven of course that volunteering increases positive mental wellbeing.

Given the current climate with the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us are volunteering informally. There has been great community spirit shown in wanting to help vulnerable people, particularly in a time of crisis. It is humbling to hear of people coming together in this way, thanks to each and every one of you who have volunteered to help others whether that be informally or otherwise.

Many community groups and organisations have responded too, setting up Covid-19 specific volunteering opportunities taking place both remotely and in the community. Do you know what is available? Are you interested in helping? Things are changing all the time and we at the University of Brighton are reacting to those changes and are helping to shape the way students can volunteer right now.

Active Student, the University’s Volunteering Service, has been working with local community groups to promote new roles that can be fulfilled at this time. If this is something you would like to get involved with then please get in touch by emailing the team at volunteering@brighton.ac.uk, more information can be found here;  https://www.brighton.ac.uk/careers/volunteering/index.aspx