Guide to volunteering for over-50s
Voluntary organisations recognise that older people bring a wealth of skills and expertise to volunteering. By passing on your skills and learning you can make a difference to people’s lives. Volunteering is also a good way to make new friends and improve general levels of health and fitness.
Why become a volunteer?
Whether you are still working or are retired, there are a number of things to bear in mind if you decide to volunteer. You will need to work out how much time you can afford to give and how flexible your hours need to be. Most large charities will pay travel expenses, but if you want to volunteer with a smaller organisation, you may have to pay for your own travel.
Volunteering in your local community
There are lots of different projects you can become involved with locally. Donating just a few hours each week can make a real difference in your local area.
- Volunteer for a community project (leisure, home and community section)
- Over 50s Volunteering (Volunteer Now website)
Become a coach or mentor
Older people are often well suited to becoming mentors or coaches. You can put your highly valued skills and life experiences to good use to help other people develop their skills and gain confidence. In return, you can develop your own interpersonal skills and remain active.
There are many ways you can help the environment by volunteering. Conservation projects are often run locally by councils and voluntary organisations. There are also ‘green gyms’ organised by the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers that help you get fit at the same time as helping out.
Working with animals
Working with animals can be rewarding and provide new areas of interest. There are many animal charities that offer volunteering opportunities, from working directly with animals at rescue centres to helping to organise charity events. You can also help monitor the wildlife in your local area.
Setting up a volunteering scheme at work
Employee volunteering is volunteering that is supported by your employer, either during work time or outside of work hours. If you are thinking about setting up a volunteer scheme at work you need to decide what you want to do and how you would like to get involved.
Find a volunteering opportunity
Volunteer Now provides information and support for people interested in volunteering across Northern Ireland. To find a volunteering opportunity, visit the Volunteer Now website to search for volunteering opportunities across Northern Ireland.