With half term either finished or almost behind us, there will be plenty of parents who understand the challenges of keeping children entertained over the holidays. Finding something that suits everyone, won’t cost of fortune and, dare I say it, helps keep the kids away from their screens for a little while, can be really tricky but family volunteering could be the answer.
We’d understand if it’s not something you’ve considered before – a lot of the traditional volunteering roles have been aimed at individuals - but charities are starting to realise that there’s a whole heap of support out there, they just have to create the right opportunities.
Flexible, short term projects work really well, especially if they are in the school holidays but it’s also really important that they make a real difference. Get it right and the charities can reap the benefits, but so can the families…
Volunteering as a family can help:
- Build stronger bonds – volunteering provides a fantastic opportunity to spend time together as a family, to have conversations away from the pressures of your day to day environment and can often be the impetus for conversations you may not have had otherwise.Provide a level playing field – often the volunteering activity will be new to the whole family so it’s not a case of parents teaching children, you all get to learn together.
- Impart important values – helping others is a great way to demonstrate and encourage compassion, perseverance and empathy. It’s also fantastic for helping everyone develop other skills such as problem solving, communication, self-confidence.
- Introduce new people – volunteering can provide the opportunity to introduce children to a whole range of new people and experiences they may not come across in their day to day lives, all in a safe and secure environment.
- Connect with your local community – volunteering to help others in your local area is a great way of getting to know your local community, helping you feel more connected. Plus there’s the added benefit of knowing where to go for support if you or someone you knew ever needed it.
- Create fantastic memories – volunteering is all about the experience, both how it made you feel and how you made other people feel. Those memories will last a lifetime.
- New experiences – volunteers are needed by all sorts of groups and organisations for all sorts of things from clearing scrubland, helping at events or serving food at your local homeless shelter. It’s a great way to try out a new skill, develop a new interest or simply do something different.
So how can you get involved?
- Contact your local volunteer centre to see what family friendly opportunities there are in your area. NCVO has a searchable database of accredited volunteer centres
- Ask your friends and/or talk to groups or organisations you’re already involved with – it could be your local school or nursery, a sports club or even a social group but it’s amazing what opportunities can come your way simply by letting people know you’re interested in doing something
- Consider making volunteering part of your holiday – there are a range of organisations that can help you blend your time away with doing good, from Take the Family is a good place to start.
- Join the GenGive Community – you can through the website and/or follow us on and to join the conversation, receive updates about upcoming events and access to interesting articles and resources.
If you volunteer with your family, we’d love to hear about your experiences – please do get in touch if you’d like to share your story.