Why Volunteering as a Community Circle Facilitator will make you feel good, in more ways than one!

The personal benefits of volunteering on your health and wellbeing:

1. Better Health

2. Greater Purpose

3. Less Stress

4. Fun and social


Here is some feedback from people who volunteered over a 12 month period:

76% say that volunteering has made them feel healthier!
94% say that volunteering improves their mood.
78% say that volunteering lowers their stress levels
96% say that volunteering enriches their sense of purpose in life
95% say they are helping to make their community a better place
80% say that they feel they have control over their health
United Health Group Research on Volunteering

1. Better Health: volunteers say that they feel better – physically, mentally and emotionally: it helps to keep people active as they tend to walk more; it lessens symptoms of chronic pain; it helps to keep their minds off their own problems; they reduce the risk of heart disease; are less likely to develop high blood pressure; have better thinking skills and find easier to cope with everyday tasks and decisions. Surveys also show volunteers are more informed about health care and subsequently are more engaged and in managing their own health.

2. Greater Purpose: Volunteering helps make the local community a better place. Helping with the smallest of tasks can makes such a difference to someone who is lonely or unable to leave their home unaided.

The Campaign to End Loneliness report that 45% of people in the UK and US admit to feeling lonely. Another 1 in 10 adults say they have no close friends. Loneliness and social isolation are two major factors facing our older population today. Volunteering is a great way to combat this.

3. Less Stress: volunteering helps people manage and lower their stress levels; keep mentally stimulated and lowers the risk for depression and anxiety. The London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of adults; they found the more people volunteered, the happier they were!

Further research has shown by measuring hormones and brain activity that helping others brings immense pleasure to the volunteer. The more we are able to give the less stressed we become.

4. Fun and social: when we help others in some way however small the brain releases chemicals that make us ‘feel good’, psychologists refer to this as the ‘helpers high’! As our feelings of social connectedness increase so too does our self-esteem. More findings show that when we ‘give back’ or offer acts of kindness our own self-esteem is boosted making us more optimistic and positive.

Volunteer Scotland says “Have fun! Most volunteers have a great time, regardless of why they do it”. Volunteering is an opportunity to make new friends, expand social networks and learn some new skills.

Have you got 2-3 hours a month free? We are Recruiting Facilitators in Dumfries for our Community Circles

Community Circles are a way to help people stay connected to their family, friends and community through circles of support. In Dumfries the Circles are connected to Well Being Teams which are pioneering innovative care in the home for those over 65. Here is an animate explaining how the Circles operate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XmVUIoa6kU

The Circle meets every 4-6 weeks; the facilitator supports the group of family and friends who have come together to share ideas and develop actions to support the circle holder’s wishes. Here is an example of a first Circle meeting:

“My first Circle meeting was with Judy. We introduced ourselves, and over tea and cakes, chatted about the purpose of Judy’s Circle, which is to support her to reconnect with her faith community. Lots of ideas were shared, and we arranged a coffee morning for members of the parish and chatted about the support Judy would need to go to church. All the circle members agreed what they would do. My role was to make sure these conversations led to actions.
At subsequent meetings I check with Judy and her Circle what worked well and what could have been better. We will keep sharing ideas of how we can support her to reconnect with her faith community.

It’s a great role that fits in around my other commitments and at times to suit my availability. The e-learning and direct support is great as I can fit this in my schedule at times to suit me. Even though I only volunteer a few hours a month, I really feel that I’m part of making a positive difference in someone’s life and I’m learning lots too”.

Contact ali@community-circles.co.uk or via FB @communitycirclesdumfries for a chat to find out more.

Ali Gibson, Community Circle Connector Dumfries