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Planning your gap year? Why not consider volunteering?
Lots of young people are planning their gap years after a tumultuous six months. A lot of normal gap year rites of passage are not possible at the moment. Volunteering is a great way of making the most of your gap year – it helps you gain new skills and knowledge, as well as providing experiences that will last a lifetime.
Volunteering can also be flexible around other commitments, such as re-taking exams, finding a part-time job and caring for others.
Of course, we have all had to take precautions during this period. When volunteering you should have a discussion to mitigate any risks. There are also loads of roles you can do from home, from helping a charity’s social media to making phone calls to isolated people.
Supporting people and communities
During this period we have seen an astonishing explosion in volunteering from the NHS Responders Volunteers to the informal Mutual Aid groups that have sprung up. Volunteers in formal and informal groups have delivered shopping, medical supplies and provided a friendly ear on the phone.
Past few months have exacerbated and exposed many social issues. Black Lives Matter and the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities have encouraged many people to join antiracist campaigns. Loneliness and poverty have also been highlighted and many people have banded together in new and innovative ways to combat them.
If you want to make a difference and give your time to support the most vulnerable in society, you can search here for different causes.
Of course, volunteering is not only about others, but it can also help you gain new skills and experience in advance of further studying.
That could be gaining experience with children or supporting adults, getting admin or marketing experience for your first office job, or in an area of interest such as theatre or the environment.
When applying for your volunteer role, make sure that you are clear about what you want to learn and what skills you want to gain with the organisation. As you are helping them, they should support you in gaining the skills or let you know if that is not possible.
Travelling around the world may not be possible at the moment, but you can still get a taste of adventure and widen your horizons before you get back to studying or start your career.
You might consider full-time volunteering, which involves moving to another part of the country having accommodation and other expenses paid for. Find out more at full-time volunteering.
You might want to set up your own group to show your initiative and explore an area you are interested in. The Library Service can help you with this.
Support and advice
If you want any support or advice about volunteering please get in touch. You can reach us through
Call: 0300 365 9980
Visit Story Map to learn more about Volunteering Kington.
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