Date published: 02 June 2015 by Anna Jackson
Volunteering is a chance for people to get involved in their local community and help make a real difference. For some people, it’s the flexibility and variety of tasks you can get involved with, for others it’s about acquiring new skills, but for Barry Bryan from Surrey, it was more than just helping others.
Barry has volunteered for Rainbow Trust for three years in the digital team and in this time has overcome his own personal barriers.
When first joining, Barry was quiet and unsure of asking questions or seeking help. Over time though, he became more comfortable in his surroundings and was a lot more forthcoming and open. He was able to work alongside other volunteers and interns and teach them things he had learnt during his time at the charity.
Reflecting on his time with Rainbow Trust, Barry says:
“Initially, I was really quite shy. I had the experience to support the digital team, creating content and images for the website and social media pages. For me I was lacking the social skills and I thought that volunteering would be a way for me to work on this”.
“Volunteering isn’t just about doing something to help others, it’s about doing something to help yourself too. I’ve been able to work on my self-confidence over the last two years and have been able to build my self-esteem and interaction skills.”
Volunteering within a working environment allows young people to build their confidence and knowledge before entering the world of employment.
Top three tips when volunteering
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions – asking questions or asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness or lack of experience. Rather, it’s about gaining as much understanding of the task which will save you a lot of work in the long run when you know exactly what you’re doing.
- Create business relationships – it’s important to integrate yourself within the company. Building a network of contacts is good as you never know what opportunities might arise in the future.
- Do what will benefit you – use the experience to grow your own knowledge. The flexibility of available volunteering opportunities means you can choose exactly what you want to do - whether that’s working in retail, marketing, care, administration etc. - which you can then add to your CV and develop your skill-set.