Wellbeing and volunteering


Lauren Hogan, Turn2us Volunteering Officer, looks at the positive effects that volunteering can have on your wellbeing.

Volunteering can too often be focused on how a volunteer’s efforts will help someone in need or help the organisation achieve its goals and less about how it can have a positive impact on the volunteer.

When we first speak to volunteers on the phone, we always ask "what are your motivations" and "what do you want to get out of volunteering?" Self-development is just as important as helping others. Volunteering is known to have a positive impact on our overall wellbeing too. I recently went to a workshop all about wellbeing and how it can be boosted by taking part as a volunteer.

So what is wellbeing?

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing describes wellbeing quite simply as ‘how we are doing as individuals’, ‘how we feel and our quality of life’.

Wellbeing is often associated with mental health but there are many parts to it. The What Works Centre for Wellbeing also says that wellbeing has ‘10 broad dimensions which have been shown to matter most to people in the UK as identified through a national debate. The dimensions are: the natural environment, personal well-being, our relationships, health, what we do, where we live, personal finance, the economy, education and skills and governance’.

How does volunteering fit into this?

Research led by Jump shows that ‘volunteering is associated with higher levels of wellbeing, better general health and fewer mental health problems’. The socialisation that comes from volunteering in groups and with other people is beneficial, similar to taking part in sport. The sense of purpose that you gain from volunteering may also be a contributing factor. Jump’s report ‘Happy Days’ which gives a much deeper look into volunteering and wellbeing is due to be published soon.

The Royal Voluntary Service also did some research among their own volunteers and discovered that 91 per cent felt a sense of purpose thanks to their volunteer activities. They also found that many experienced an improved sense of wellbeing having started volunteering for the first time.

So not only does volunteering give you the opportunity to develop personal and professional skills, meet new people, try new things, give you a chance to get out of the house and into your community, it also has a positive impact on our wellbeing.

Do you think your volunteering activity, with Turn2us or another organisation, has a positive effect on your overall wellbeing? Let us know by emailing:

Find out more

If you would like to find out more about our volunteering opportunities, visit the volunteering section of our website or contact us via or call: 020 8834 9218.