How can we make time to volunteer?

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Volunteer Centres around the county will be gearing up for National Volunteer Week due to take place this year from the 19th – 25th June and we are no exception in Central. Each year we host four celebrations in our hubs of Alexandra, Cromwell, Queenstown and Wanaka and invite volunteers from around the region to join us and be thanked for the astounding work they carry out in their community.

This years campaign is a call to action, with a lack of time is the most commonly cited reason why people don’t volunteer, both in NZ and internationally. I hear this a lot, from students, employees, parents and of course retired people who are often the busiest people in our community! Life is busy. We juggle work, children, studies, sports, events and socialising. There is barely enough time in the day as it is, without taking on any more committments. Agree? But what if volunteering is viewed as a leisure activity in itself? Does it still feel like we have to make time to do something if it is a priority and something we enjoy? If it is something we feel valued for and the benefits of our involvement are clear to us?

This National Volunteer Week we will be encouraging organisations around the region to take a step back from their usual viewpoints and look at the roles they are filling (or trying to fill) with willing volunteers, and get them to ask themselves if the role is a rewarding one, and one that is worth a volunteer ‘giving up their time for’. If it is, then hopefully the volunteer doesn’t feel that they are giving up their time, but simply choosing to spend their time there as is a pleasure to do so. If volunteers have a clear idea of how they and others are benefiting from their involvement and how they are contributing to the wider vision of the organisation, coupled with the satisfaction they gain – then surely we can all ‘make the time’ to volunteer and it becomes part of our regular weekly, monthly or yearly routine without feeling that we are giving up our precious time.