The arrival of the first day of September will always be marked for most of us as the start of the school term, whether it’s a memory of school years gone by or the daily school run, that you still have to look forward to. After the energy filled days of the summer, it’s a time to start something new, seek out opportunities, or simply have a rest!
You may be jumping for joy in those first few quieter weeks, but for some people the empty day can be just as much of a chore as the holidays. Maybe your children have just gone to school for the first time and you’re wondering what to do with yourself, or perhaps your loved ones have flown the nest to university leaving you with a bit more time to fill? If you’re finding yourself wishing for some grown-up company, why not consider volunteering?
Most volunteering opportunities are available for a few just hours during the day, once a week, and can be flexible in the holidays too. Disability Network volunteer Michelle Leighton said: “I started volunteering because I wanted to give something back to the community that has helped me so much.
“I can volunteer whatever hours fit around my children, so I choose to volunteer a few days a week during term time — I drop my kids off at school in a morning and then go into the office and leave the office in time for picking the kids up from school. I get self-respect and a reason to hold my head up high, instead of feeling bad about my situation. I would definitely recommend volunteering to other parents.”
Volunteering doesn’t have to just be for parents either. If your teenager has just returned to school and is hoping to complete a Duke of Edinburgh Award, or is attending college or sixth form, Voluntary Centre Services can help to find opportunities to complement their study. Duke of Edinburgh volunteers need to complete an average of one hour per week of volunteering over a period of three months, and sixth form or college volunteers can use their complementary activities time on a Wednesday afternoon to make a difference to their local community.
The range of opportunities available to parents is huge, from befriending to administration, catering to even getting outdoors and keeping fit. If you’re interested in finding out more about volunteering, please call 01427 613470, visit www.voluntarycentreservices.org.uk or call in to the Guildhall, from 10.00am to 4.00pm, Monday to Friday.