It is the European year of volunteering.
I discovered this by accident, which to my mind says quite a lot about how society views volunteering.
Don't get me wrong, UK society uses voluntary organisations all the time, but mostly they don't realise it and so they don't value it.
Here are some fun statistics (as published by the RSPB)
Did you know that in the UK 71% of people volunteer.
11million people do so at least once a month.
11 million peope, that means that approximately 1 in every 6 UK residents, volunteer every month. That's at least one person in every 3 generation family. A lot of people every month. So where do these people volunteer?
Well let's start with my volunteering experience over the years:
- cub scout pack helper
- reading with middle schoolers
- helping at preschool
- charity trustee for preschool
- reading at school
- home start
- miscarriage association
- help the aged
- Sunday school helper then leader
- youth group leader
- self esteem club
- lay minister
- babyloss awareness
- world vision
And all of those organisations; charities, schools, preschools, hospitals, hospices, uniformed brigades, churches need volunteers to even start to function. Volunteers are the backbone of much that this country relies on.
So are volunteers valued enough?
Yes, definitely, by the individuals who meet us.
But I would say no; certainly not by society as a whole.