Student Hannah Westwood, who is working with FCN as a Digital Marketing Assistant for the next couple of months as part of a placement funded by the University of Leicester, discusses what motivates her to volunteer and what drove her to apply for the role with FCN.
Volunteering is an amazing way to give back to the community and really make a difference in the lives of other people. Whilst volunteering certainly benefits the people you are helping, there are also so many benefits to you as the volunteer. An obvious benefit is helping with career progression and having something extra to put on your CV, but did you know that volunteering can also improve your mood and self-esteem whilst lowering stress and anxiety levels?
I have volunteered in several different roles throughout my life, from volunteering at my local athletics club, to more recently working as an NHS Check in & Chat volunteer. I have certainly gained so many benefits from the various volunteer roles I have held, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them. One great aspect of volunteering is that it is very social, and you get to talk to and meet people that you often wouldn’t have crossed paths with. In my role at a local athletics club I got to meet lots of talented young athletes from the local area as I helped to coach them, and I had the opportunity to become close friends with the other volunteer coaches.
In my current role as an NHS volunteer, I have been able to talk with people over the phone from all over the country, helping to combat their loneliness during this time and refer them onto other services where necessary. This role has been especially rewarding as the time spent talking to people over the phone directly benefits them. For me, the interaction with different people over the phone has been beneficial to my mental health during lockdown, too.
As a young person, volunteering has been great experience, as it has allowed me to make new connections, develop key skills and try out roles in different industries, which has helped me to decide the type of work I want to do in the future. It has also shown me that I enjoy doing work that helps other people. Although it has sometimes been difficult to balance voluntary roles alongside studies and paid employment, it has definitely been worth it for the numerous benefits it has brought.
Some of the voluntary experience I’ve had has helped me to build key skills which have been useful in several different roles I’ve had. As mentioned, volunteering is very social and I have certainly been able to improve my communication skills and learn how to talk to people of all ages and from all walks of life. Volunteering alongside my studies has also improved my organisational and time-management skills.
I was drawn to the Digital Marketing Assistant role with The Farming Community Network, as the chance to work with a national charity is not only invaluable experience, but also means that the work I do will help to benefit the lives of others. I think it is really important to be able to assist with maintaining and raising the profile of FCN and to help ensure that the amazing volunteers are able to keep helping those in the farming industry who need them most.
Through the voluntary experience I have done previously, I know that I enjoy helping people, and FCN’s mission to help people in farming communities, who can be otherwise isolated, really resonates with me.
If your organisation would like to fund an internship position with FCN please contact Alex Phillimore, Marketing and Communications Manager, on firstname.lastname@example.org. We are keen to work with and train those hoping to gain insights into the charity sector.