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With winter attempting to lure us into our caves the thought of hibernation may be tempting, but the answer to beating the winter blues may just be to get out of the house and try a spot of volunteering.
During the recent National Volunteering Week the country celebrated the millions of people who give selflessly of their time, experience and expertise to help community organisations, sporting groups, arts/heritage associations, companies, schools, animal groups, emergency services, environmental groups, health organisations, family associations, religious and other groups around the country.
Connect Health & Community was no exception with our 200+ volunteers helping us to deliver a range of our services to those in our community in needs of assistance.
Without the commitment of these amazing people, countless events, activities, programs and life-saving activities would simply not happen, as Volunteering Australia estimates their help gives more than $290 billion to the Australian economy every year.
But as well as giving, it seems that volunteers receive too, not in money, but in a currency many feel far more important, happiness.
Connect Health & Community’s Team Leader Volunteer and Community Connections, Jo Costa, said the most recent Volunteering Australia survey of volunteers found that 92% were satisfied or very satisfied from their volunteering experience and 93% saw a positive change as a result of their efforts.
“When you volunteer, you know you are making a difference in someone’s life. It is a great way to make new connections, learn new skills and support the community you live in,” Jo said.
“Research shows volunteering is strongly associated with greater health and happiness. Volunteering Australia found that 96% of volunteers believe it ‘makes them happier’ and 95% of volunteers say that volunteering is related to feelings of wellbeing. Wonderfully, respondents said volunteering results in a ‘helper’s high,’ a powerful physical and emotional feeling experienced when directly helping others,” she said.
But for all the wonderful vibes flowing from volunteering, 86% of volunteering organisations still need more volunteers,
“Whether you can give a little or a lot, the benefits for everyone are evident. Research shows that just a few hours of volunteer work makes a difference in happiness and mood, and sustained volunteering is associated with better mental health and altruistic emotions. These behaviours are associated with greater wellbeing, health and longevity, so that is a wonderful outcome,” she said.
At Connect Health & Community we work to ensure that positive experience by taking the time to match volunteers with a role that suits their interests and skills, and offers support and training to help our people grow.
“Regardless of why you want to volunteer or how you want to help, there are more than 600,000 organisations around Australia seeking volunteer assistance who will have the right role to meet your needs, while also adding greatly to the lives of those you help. So if you want to help others or do something worthwhile, gain social interaction, keep yourself busy or using untapped skills, the win-win opportunity could be just around the corner – literally,” she said.
“The beauty of volunteering is that everyone benefits, and there’s nothing better to beat those winter blues than happiness,” she said.
If you are looking for a volunteer role to help get you out and about this winter, contact Connect Health & Community on (03) 9275 5333 or visit our website at https://connecthealth.org.au/about-us/volunteer-with-us/# or visit https://volunteeringvictoria.org.au/go-volunteer/
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