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VOLUNTEERING IN YOUR COMMUNITY WORDS Pearl Charalambos The Volunteers’ Week (1st June – 7th June) was established in 1984 by Volunteering England, which merged with NCVO in 2013. NCVO now leads this UK-wide campaign. Volunteering is defined by NCVO as “someone spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit the environment or someone who they’re not closely related to. Volunteering must be a choice freely made by each individual” (NCVO, 2019). There are many roles in volunteering. For example activities such as befriending or buddying, helping at community events, schools, churches, fundraising, conservation activities and more. Volunteering opportunities can be found in a variety of settings from sport clubs to local community organisations. So, what makes people want to volunteer? Volunteering generates many physical and mental health benefits. According to NHS Health website ‘Moodzone’, there are evidence-based researches that showed giving our time to any small

or large acts of kindness improves our mental wellbeing. ‘Giving to others and co-operating with them can stimulate the reward areas in the brain, creating positive feelings’. People who volunteer gain confidence, experience and enjoy a closer relationship with their community. Participating and volunteering in sports has correlations with higher levels of social trust and trust in institutions (Sport England, 2011). One of our volunteers, Grzegorz Wegrzyn who has been living and working in Wisbech for the last 10 years said: ‘I want to make a difference. Active Fenland provides free sports and physical activities which benefit the community. It gives people opportunity to be active and interact with each other. It is the main reason why I have become the volunteer for the project’. Another volunteer Chris Gay also said: ‘Doing what I am doing definitely improved my relationship with the community. It’s a charity

work I am doing and I am proud of being involved with it’ (Chris Gay, Wisbech Table Tennis Club Volunteer, 2019). According to Citizens Advice, you can volunteer as many hours as you want each week and your benefits won’t be affected. The Active Fenland Community Cohesion project has many volunteering opportunities. For example, helping at Sport and Community Events and learning new skills in the basics of community development, widening your social network, supporting the social integration of our multi-ethnic community, getting upskill training in first aid, getting a qualification in Level 1 sport and physical activity activator and many other opportunities. For more information in volunteering with the Active Fenland Social Cohesion project, contact Pearl Charalambos – Sport and Physical Activity Co-ordinator at: pcharalambos@fenland.gov.uk 07729 638832 The Fens | July 2019

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Profile for The Fens magazine

The Fens Wisbech July 2019  

The Fens July issue features an interview with Fenland artist Nick Tearle and we visit Ayscoughfee Hall

The Fens Wisbech July 2019  

The Fens July issue features an interview with Fenland artist Nick Tearle and we visit Ayscoughfee Hall

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