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Each year, the UN General Assembly invites governments to observe the International Volunteer Day (IVD) on the 5th December. Since its inception in 1985, governments, the UN, and civil society organisations have been working together with volunteers across the globe to celebrate the awareness day each year.
This year, the theme for the event is ‘Together We Can Through Volunteering’. The campaign aims to highlight the vital role that volunteers have played during the COVID-19 outbreak and to shed light on the “difficulties and needs of volunteers during the pandemic”.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many of us are spending more time at home than usual. Consequently, the daily routines of those most vulnerable are almost unrecognisable. For example, a simple walk to the shops is no longer an option for some. Here, we have listed a few simple ways to support the most vulnerable in your community during the COVID pandemic...
Shop for food and medicine: If you have elderly or clinically vulnerable loved ones, colleagues, or neighbours, offer to help them get their essential items such as food and medicine. This doesn’t necessarily mean physically going to the shops—some elderly individuals may be unfamiliar with online shopping and assisting them would be a great relief.
Deliver essentials: Pick up essential supplies and drop them off for your vulnerable neighbours and loved ones. If you don’t have access to a car, delivering small packages of essentials by foot to local addresses will be a huge benefit for those who need it.
Sign up for vaccine studies: To combat the pandemic, vaccines will need to be tested thoroughly before being released to the wider public. If you are interested in taking part in these studies, sign up here. Alternatively, you can contact your local council, and see what opportunities they have.
Boost your relationships: By offering practical and emotional support to people in need, volunteering allows you to boost your social skills and develop your relationships further.
Increase your self-confidence: When volunteering, you are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity.
Improve your overall wellbeing: The social aspect of helping others can have a profound effect on your overall wellbeing. Experiencing a meaningful connection to another person can help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as boost your self-esteem and confidence.
Sense of purpose: Adults can find new meaning and direction in their lives by helping others. Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can distract you from life’s pressures and keep you mentally stimulated.
As long as the latest government guidelines are followed, anyone can volunteer during the pandemic. Even those who are shielding form the virus can volunteer to work on the phone, such as answering queries about testing or even simply volunteering to call vulnerable, lonely people for a chat.
While we are all living in challenging times, volunteering can be a great way to give back to others and give your wellbeing a real boost. For volunteering opportunities in your area, visit the Gov website or Volunteer Ireland.
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