Volunteering – it’s good for your health

April 2024

Helping others by volunteering is good for strengthening your mental health, and it could win you a grocery voucher as well as a new lease on life.

SociaLink, the umbrella organisation for the Western Bay of Plenty social sector, is running a free workshop for potential volunteers on March 22, hoping to attract people who may not have thought of volunteering before.

Feel Good by Doing Good: How to be a helping hand in your community is on Wednesday March 22 at 5pm at The Kollective in 17th Avenue. It will also include the launch of Volunteering Services under its new SociaLink banner. It is open to anyone interested in volunteering and social action in their community.

The workshop will include a panel of people who already volunteer in the community talking about their experiences and how it has helped them. It’s also an opportunity for those already volunteering to learn new skills and network with each other.

Keynote speaker, Damian D’Cruz of training company Mindspring, says he’ll provide attendees with “homework for life” – key skills in listening, dealing with difficult people, how to connect with others and giving back to your community. The evening is designed to be fun and interactive with time to ask questions of those who already share their skills in the community.

“We know that people volunteer to connect with others and be part of a team, but it also boosts self esteem, teaches new skills and people can feel good about working for a good cause,” he said.

“People often have negative responses to the sorts of life stressors we’ve been experiencing recently. They drink too much, don’t get enough sleep. We’ll look at developing individual fortitude, community support, and help people to recognise how much their battery is being drained.”

SociaLink general manager Liz Davies said they are keen to connect with people who haven’t thought of volunteering before.

“We’re particularly keen to find volunteers who, for a whole range of reasons, don’t tend to volunteer, for example where we know there are growth opportunities – among migrants and newcomers, and young people. Volunteering can help with improving English, provide a chance to meet new people while doing good and can lead to employment or career development for those who are keen to lend a hand.

“We already know that volunteering is good for people’s general wellbeing, as well as contributing to our communities. SociaLink has always worked with organisations. Now we want to attract people who have something to give to their communities and give them those opportunities.

The free workshop will include refreshments, and the chance to win one of two grocery vouchers. Anyone interested in attending can register at https://www.eventspronto.co.nz/event7250