Giving time for nothing. Why?

It was a day off today and so I could have had a lie in and then got up and taken myself off somewhere, or gone shopping. Instead, I chose to get up ridiculously early and spend eight hours doing work for no payment. This wasn’t usual charity work but it was voluntary. I was helping with a dressage competition learning stuff and helping out.

There are so many things from sporting competitions to charity shops that rely on volunteers giving up their time to make it happen. Without people giving their time to hobbies, interests and pastimes many things would not be able to exist. Every weekend there are people coaching, training, being referees and stewarding a whole range of sporting events.

But why do we do it and more importantly why should we do it?

People do voluntary work for a whole host of reasons. It may be that they enjoy the sport or hobby that they are helping with, they may find a sense of achievement, it may be part of them giving something back to the community or it may be a way to make friends. So why should we volunteer some time to things?

We are all members of society whether we like it or not. People live together in neighbourhoods or communities, as well as being involved with communities of special interest. If we only did what we got paid to do then it would be a very sad and more depressing life. Children would not be playing in sporting teams, many sporting competitions would not happen, charity shops would cease to exist, the list is endless.

Unfortunately, I think there are many people within communities who can’t see beyond their own world. The only thing that matters to them is what is in their world and what they want. The challenge as time moves on is to get people to recognise the benefits of volunteering and what they can gain beyond money. I know this is not going to be easy but in a couple of weeks it will be Volunteers Week so hopefully it will be a chance to highlight what is a really important element of our society.

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