"The greatest gift you can give is your time because when you give your time you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back"
It's no secret that volunteering for Cancer Research UK is one of my favourite aspects of my life. I meet incredible people and do incredible things on a weekly basis. I am challenged, I am inspired and I am frequently left in awe of the people I get to meet. I openly admit that if I ever won a significant amount of money I would leave full time employment and volunteer for the charity on a full time basis.
The charity have tens of thousands of volunteers. Most of them are like me; willing to donate large portions of their spare time to the cause we believe in. My spare time is precious, I don't have a lot of it. I genuinely have to believe in something and really want to do it if I'm going to drag myself away from the sofa to do it. Whenever I meet a new volunteer and they ask for tips I always say the same thing "once you've volunteered for one thing, you'll become slightly obsessed and find yourself volunteering more and more" that is true. I started out as just an ambassador. Now I volunteer to help at events like Race for Life, I've spoken at volunteers conferences and various other things.
If you've ever considered donating some time to a cause then I can hand on heart recommend Cancer Research UK. The charity hugely appreciates their volunteers and go out of their way to make you feel informed, inspired and important. You'll meet people who will hopefully become good friends and you'll come away feeling like you've really made a difference.
There are many ways to volunteer:
Cancer Campaigns Ambassador - We ambassadors are a group of passionate supporters working hard to help CRUK effectively influence politicians, engage the local media in their campaigns and try to help them save lives. Our stories, experiences and passion have become one of CRUK’s most powerful campaigning tools and are vital part of their work.
As an ambassador the activities are varied and interesting:
* Communication with local politicians and parliamentary representatives; flagging up our campaign issues and persuading them to back us and take positive action on our behalf.
* Engaging with our local and regional press; securing coverage for our campaigns and raising awareness in our local area.
* Lobbying for specific cancer related campaigns.
I cannot find words big enough to describe how amazing I find my fellow ambassadors. We have formed a close group and we support, encourage and work together to make a real difference. It is a true honour to count myself as part of this inspiring group of people. If this sounds like something you might be interested in then I can promise you would be welcomed with open arms :)
Volunteering at an event - I recently started volunteering at Race for Life and it was brilliant. The atmosphere was buzzing and the people I met were infectious in their enthusiasm. I used my experience as a secretary to man the admin tent so I was dealing with queries, making sure people had running numbers etc... But you can also volunteer as a course marshall and various other things. There is also Shine, for which I've signed up to volunteer at, as well as Relay for Life and various other events such as marathons etc... These volunteer roles are perfect if you don't fancy partaking in a sports event but would like to be part of the atmosphere and support those taking part.
Volunteering in a shop - I'm really keen to get my grandad volunteering in one of the CRUK shops as I worry about him getting bored at home now he's retired. I've never met a CRUK shop volunteer who wasn't friendly, helpful and chatty. They are lovely people. This type of role would be perfect if you have a few hours to kill during the working day and would like to get yourself out of the house for a few hours!
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the types of volunteering positions available with the charity. For more information you should take a look here: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/volunteer/help-at-an-event
Don't just take my word for how brilliant volunteering is, some of my lovely friends and fellow volunteers have kindly allowed me to share their own thoughts and feelings on the subject with you:
"I feel proud to be able to contribute to the work of such a high quality organisation working for such a valuable cause" - Sue Kennedy
"I'm proud to be part of the volunteers family in CRUK, and although we all do different work, are all contributing to the same cause. ... bring cancer down." - Andy Millin
"I love volunteering as it is a pleasure knowing i helping for a great cause and meeting other people." - Karen Penn
"it's an absolute honour to volunteer for such an amazing charity. I've got so much from the experience, including friends!" - Alice Roythorne
"Proud to be part of CRUK and inspired by other volunteers" - Sue Duncombe