Stockport Volunteering Campaign 2022

A campaign to highlight the importance of volunteering and to celebrate good people doing good things throughout our borough

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Volunteering

Stockport...
a place where caring counts

Since the start of the pandemic, those in need within Stockport have benefitted from the generosity of people giving their time for free, to help others.

Many organisations were already doing great work with volunteers but since March 2020 Volunteering took on new meaning. People were offering to do shopping and pick up prescriptions for others, help deliver meals to those unable to leave the house. Those who were isolating were making friendly phone calls to others self-isolating and young people were walking dogs for those who were vulnerable.

Two years on and Stockport now has a Volunteer Hub of over 600 people not to mention organisations such as Healthwatch, Arc, Walthew House, Beechwood Cancer Care and the many others, who all co-ordinate their own volunteers around the borough.

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We’re celebrating Volunteers’ Week! 1-7 June

Thank You
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HOW CAN I HELP?

There are so many different types of volunteering

Volunteering can range from having a regular volunteer role you attend on a weekly basis such as working in a charity shop to ad hoc or one-off volunteer roles such as attending planned gardening days at green spaces or helping to fundraise at events.

Some volunteering roles don’t even require you to leave your house!

Micro - Formal
I can’t commit to regular volunteering
I have time to regularly volunteer

Give microvolunteering a go!

These are easy tasks that can be achieved anywhere mainly from your smart phone or laptop.

It could be something like editing a Wikipedia page right through to a task as simple as liking your favourite charity’s Facebook Page, perhaps commenting, or sharing their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram posts might be for you. Microvolunteering really gives everyone a chance to volunteer especially if getting to certain locations is problematic due to accessibility.

You could try formal volunteering!

If you have a specific day of the week available, you might like to commit some time to an organisation or charity that is close to your heart. Or you may live close to a community centre and would like to give something back to your neighbourhood. Both are great ways to get involved and begin your journey into volunteering! It’s likely you’ll be asked to commit to a set amount of time on the day you volunteer, this could range anywhere from 2–7 hours, depending on the role.

I have time to regularly volunteer

You could try formal volunteering!

If you have a specific day of the week available, you might like to commit some time to an organisation or charity that is close to your heart. Or you may live close to a community centre and would like to give something back to your neighbourhood. Both are great ways to get involved and begin your journey into volunteering! It’s likely you’ll be asked to commit to a set amount of time on the day you volunteer, this could range anywhere from 2–7 hours, depending on the role.

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The benefits of volunteering

Acts of giving and kindness can help improve our mental wellbeing

Acts of giving and kindness, such as volunteering, create positive feelings and a sense of reward. They give us a feeling of purpose and self-worth and help us connect with others.

Happiness

Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.

Wellbeing

An act of kindness can boost feelings of confidence, being in control, happiness and optimism. They may also encourage others to repeat the good deeds they've experienced themselves – contributing to a more positive community.

Health

For older people, volunteering is associated with more positive affect and meaning in life, while offering support to others has been shown to be associated with reduced mortality rates.

For more info visit New Economics (https://neweconomics.org/2008/10/five-ways-to-wellbeing)

volunteering myths busted

It’s too difficult and daunting

The volunteer co-ordinator for the organisation or charity you approach will always run through what your tasks are before you start. They may ask you to come along and have a trial run to see if you like it before you commit. So long as you find a volunteer role doing something that you enjoy, it will always be that little bit easier for you.

There will always be someone giving you directions in your role, you won’t be expected to work without any supervision. You may be nervous on your first day but that is completely normal, it’s a bit like your first day at a new school or starting a new job!

I’m too old to volunteer

You are never too old to volunteer! Whether it’s litter picking in your local park or helping to put up exhibitions at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery, there are volunteer roles for everyone 60+. When you apply for a role, always let your Volunteer Co-ordinator know of any health issues you may have or medication you are on so they can make sure they offer you right role to keep you safe. Just bring along your enthusiasm!

I don’t have any skills

Sometimes being a volunteer can just involve sitting and having a cup of tea with someone. Volunteer Roles can range from cleaning and tidying up, to putting out materials for craft sessions or making drinks for people, so as you see, not all volunteer roles require prior experience in particular skill sets.

Volunteering is however a great way to learn to new skills and gain qualifications as organisation and charities will invest in dedicated and motivated volunteers.

I can’t afford it

If you really want to get involved with volunteering but are worried you won’t have enough money to cover bus fares or petrol, please let the organisation or charity you want volunteer with know, as most will cover travel expenses.

I can’t volunteer as I’m on benefits

You can volunteer and claim benefits if the only money you get from volunteering is to cover expenses, like travel costs, you continue to meet the conditions of the benefit you get.

The volunteering you do must comply with the government’s definition of volunteering. The definition states that volunteering is ‘when you choose to give your time and energy to benefit other people without being paid for it’.

Please see the government’s guidance on volunteering, rights and expenses for more information:

https://www.gov.uk/volunteering/when-you-can-volunteer

I can’t volunteer because I have a disability

Not true! Some organisations look particularly for people with disabilities to work with them, Kiera’s Kingdom in Stockport is one example, they work with people with chronic illnesses and mental health issues.

If your mobility is limited but you are able to use a phone or laptop you could look for a volunteer role where you are talking with people and supporting them that way.

If you are worried volunteering will affect your disability benefits; Disability living allowance (DLA), personal independence payment (PIP) and attendance allowance are payable whether or not you are working. They are not means tested, so earnings do not affect the amount of your benefit. However, starting a job may suggest that your care or mobility needs have changed, so your benefit entitlement could be reconsidered. It is possible that your care needs may actually increase if you move into work. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) views starting or leaving work as a potential ‘change of circumstances’ for DLA and PIP.

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Next Steps

Where to find opportunities and more information

There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in and around Stockport, so if you are looking to get started why not check out these links to learn more.

Testimonials

What our local
volunteers are saying

“Volunteering may at first seem like something we do for others. It certainly can be how we start to consider, ‘joining in’. However, the richness of my experiences volunteering at Stockport Memorial Art Gallery have returned a bounty of life changing benefits, which make me happier and healthier, and I am sure improve my life chances overall.”

Thomas Hazel Grove

“I've been able to volunteer as a steward at a couple of vaccination centres and have really enjoyed it. The people have been amazing, both the other volunteers and those being vaccinated. It's such an honour to be involved with a life changing activity and something that I will always remember.”

Coralie Heaton Moor
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Toolkit

Show your support with these free tools

Help shout about these amazing volunteers by downloading this FREE toolkit which contains lots of useful tools to get behind volunteering in our borough.

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