How to find volunteering opportunities near you.
It’s Te Wiki Tūao ā-Motu National Volunteer Week this week, 19-25 June 2020, a time to show appreciation and recognition for volunteering throughout New Zealand.
As many ŌCHT tenants have expressed an interest in volunteering, we’ve spoken to ŌCHT’s Job Coach, Lyn, to find out what volunteering opportunities are available throughout Christchurch and how to secure a position that interests you.
Even when you’re looking for paid work, volunteering gives you an opportunity to gain experience and skills in a particular field. It also shows your interest and enthusiasm for working, which is appealing to prospective employers.
“Volunteering is a good way to boost your CV and find employment. It’s a way to connect with people and build networks. The contacts you make through volunteering could become a referee who can speak on your behalf when applying for paid work.”
The skills you develop volunteering can help you stand out from the crowd. From learning digital skills to practicing soft skills like working in a team to gaining confidence in a new area, the benefits are numerous.
The health benefits are significant too. Studies have shown that volunteering can improve your health and reduce stress. “It can make a real difference to your wellbeing,” says Lyn.
Many ŌCHT tenants that have expressed an interest in volunteering are retired or approaching retirement. Volunteering at this stage in life can be incredibly rewarding to both the volunteer and community.
“Volunteering can be a great way to add structure to your day or week. It helps keeps your brain and body active. It’s also a social thing to do and a way to meet new people who share the same interests,” says Lyn.
Several organisations looking for volunteers may be non-profit and rely on volunteers to keep the service running.
“You can support the services you care about by volunteering. It really does make a difference in your community,” says Lyn.
The time commitment for volunteering can be a little daunting.
Some organisations may ask for a day a week, others a bit more time. Some opportunities can be on a project basis, for example, organising an event. It’s standard practice for organisations to be up front about how much time you’ll commit to the cause.
“Volunteering is often social and that’s a driver for many people, but there are opportunities for individual work,” says Lyn. “I’ve also seen opportunities for families to volunteer together, which is a lovely way to spend time together.”
Before committing to volunteering, it’s a good idea to ask yourself the following questions.
“How will you get there and will you need to factor in transport costs?
“You can ask the organisation if there’s assistance with travel costs but it’s wise to try locally first.
“You could also ask how they will support you as you settle into your volunteering role – some are great at supporting new people.”
There are many places in Christchurch looking for volunteers. A few of these include: Volunteering Canterbury, Plains and Wetlands, Local Parks, Canterbury Community Gardens Association, SPCA, Kiwi Family Trust, Red Cross, City Mission.