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What these volunteers want you to know

Words by Smiley Team

It’s volunteers’ week: a chance to highlight the amazing individuals throughout the UK who dedicate their time to helping others.

This week, we’re spotlighting volunteers across Smiley News – here are two people giving back, to inspire you to do the same. 

‘I love helping my community’

Livia Wright, 20, from North Yorkshire, has been volunteering for more than five years’ now at the North York Moors National Park. “While volunteering, I have helped clear paths, build stone walls, represent the North York Moors National Park aboard and make videos to help visitors look after the environment and helped set up The Youth Voice counsel,” she says.

Why did you do it? “I love being outdoors and love helping my local community and the environment I live in. Even if it's simply picking up litter, so it's not harmful to the animals and the environment.

“I enjoy getting to know new people who also enjoy helping the environment and community. And also knowing that even if I am doing a little job, it's helping.”

‘It’s one of the best buzzes for me’

Ellie MacDonald, 37, has done all sorts of volunteering. From being an active member of the #SaveHuddersfieldHRI campaign back in 2015-2016  to taking over a newspaper round of 72-year-old Geoff so he could stay home, stay safe but still get paid in the first Covid lockdown. She also provides charities with pro-bono PR and marketing support.

Now, she’s training to become a ‘Befriender’for Live Well Leeds, a scheme which supports people with mild to moderate mental health issues. 

“The feeling of giving back and knowing I’m helping make a positive difference is one of the best buzzes for me,” she says. “I’m a big believer in the power of kindness. The world needs more kindness, it costs nothing but the benefits are huge. Not only is a kind act something nice to support a particular person, it makes them more likely to ‘pay it forward’ and support others in turn and it really is one of the best boosts you can give yourself too.”

Ellie’s advice about volunteering? “Do it! Whatever time or skills you have, there is a valuable difference you can make, be it helping someone, an animal and/or your community in whatever shape or form. I guarantee you’ll feel good about yourself.”

'It makes such a big difference'

Eleanor, 20, from Bristol, has been doing English SATs and GCSE tutoring with Action Tutoring since joining uni in 2019.

"I joined Action Tutoring as a way to get to know other like-minded people who also love volunteering and have a passion for tutoring," she says. "I love tutoring, it makes such a big difference in the children's confidence having that extra hour a week of support. I enjoy seeing the children become proud of themselves for mastering questions, and their pride growing with each correct answer."

Her advice to other people considering volunteering is to just jump in.

"It can be difficult to decide 'when' to start and plan it," she says. "Just sign up immediately and you'll be surprised at how naturally the skills will come to you, rather than waiting until you 'feel' ready."


Inspired to act?

GET INVOLVED: You can be part of Volunteers' Week – find out how

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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