It helps you as well as others if you take part in community or voluntary activities. You can learn new skills, make new local friends, and widen your knowledge and understanding of different lives. This will make you happier and more confident, as well as helping you prepare for the world of work.
Keep an eye out for local clubs, organisations and groups that you might like to join – sports groups, community choirs, suppport groups for people with special needs…. Try your school, your library (which will normally have a community noticeboard), your local paper or local Facebook groups or pages.
Girlguiding offers great opportunities for girls of all ages, including Guides for girls aged 10-14 and the Senior Section for young women aged 14 -25. You can take part in regular activities at your local group, as well as special events and trips away. Guiding encourages you to develop yourself, and broaden your horizons and has recently been shown to help your mental health.
Volunteering – Near you
If you already know about a charity or organisation that particularly appeals to you, make a polite approach directly – in person, by telephone, or by e-mail.
- the national UK volunteering database “Do-it” which allows you to search by place and/or type of opportunity:
- your local Volunteer Centre (you should be able to find details at your local library or through the National Council for Voluntary Organisations website)
Volunteering – Around the UK
- the charity Volunteering Matters (formerly known as Community Service Volunteers or CSV). This runs summer heritage camps for young people aged 16-25 and full-time volunteer placements for 18-35 year olds, living away from home for 6-12 months.
- The National Citizen Service, supported by the UK Government, runs spring, summer and autumn programmes for 15-17 year olds. They combine living away with some local voluntary work and cost only £50.
Volunteering – International opportunities
Generally you will have to be at least 18 to take part in international volunteering programmes. Be very careful in choosing your programme ; make sure that it is properly run and actually does some good. A good place to start is the International Citizen Service, funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development. This runs programmes for 18-25 year olds in 25 countries around the world. You will have to raise £800 as your commitment to the programme, but it is otherwise funded by the Government.
You will also find these and other suggestions on our travel pages: volunteering in different places is a good way to explore the UK and the world.