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Students from Green Lancaster clean up the River Lune

Useful. Productive. Uplifting. Selfless. Purposeful. Affective. All of these words can be used to describe volunteering. Putting our abilities, whether they are physical or mental, towards a past-time that is generous and necessary for communities or certain the lives of certain people is incredibly beneficial in a number of aspects, whether they affect us personally or not.

I have partaken in various volunteering projects over the past few years, but I have to say that Lancaster itself offers a great deal more than I expected, even for a city. I guarantee that there are so many personal and social benefits that are created from offering your time and energy towards volunteering endeavors which are so worthwhile. There are plenty of examples of volunteering opportunities in and around Lancaster, and even through the university itself. You can assist at the local homeless shelter in Lancaster, located almost in the centre of town; Lancashire County Council offers great volunteering opportunities such as the buddy system, where you are partnered with a senior member of the community as a source of friendship and occasional assistance; and the University itself offers routes into volunteering in the area, such as with the Barnardo’s society. Also, the volunteering department provides opportunities for helping out in local schools.

In terms of volunteering away from Lancaster itself, not only does Lancaster University offer projects abroad to help in areas such as Fiji and Africa, but it also offers links with organizations such as BUNAC which offer volunteering courses such as Camp America and other services in locations such as South Africa and China.

Volunteering, whether local or perhaps further afield, can offer you things beyond a simple CV boost. It gives you an insight into some amazing types of people: dedicated, constructive people who put so much effort into contributing to the specific area or enterprise that you have chosen to volunteer with. The people I have come across have been tireless in their efforts and I can see in the individuals and groups they have benefited just how valuable these types of voluntary contributions are, motivating people to make their lives better.

Everyone who is capable of volunteering should do it – it is something that communities cannot do without. The benefits that it brings are so rewarding it is impossible to truly criticise. As a result, with so many more opportunities beyond the ones mentioned in this article, you should definitely find your own voluntary vocation, and embrace it as much as you can.

For more information about volunteering at Lancaster, visit involve.lusu.co.uk.

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