With so much focus on technology and social media these days it’s hard to decide where ones special interests lie. The decision of how we spend our much sort after free time is a tough one. Movies, gaming, pottery, photography or even just simply walking can be the focus of this free time, the list is endless. Many people forget the one hobby that has been around for centuries. The one that can provide the most elated feeling of accomplishment and self-worth… Volunteering.

It may interest you to know that there are many ways in which your free time can be used for volunteering and there are now more fields to do this than ever. Some of which include:Disabilities, Education, Health, Young People, Aged Care and Community and Welfare. A full list of the areas of volunteer work is available at www.volunteering.nsw.gov.au

Volunteering in the local community is not restricted to charity groups like The Smith Family or St Vincent de Paul. A majority of community organisations are always looking for assistance from volunteers to help complete their important work in the community. Apex, Rotary, Legacy and the Lions Club are some of these organisations. Volunteering may not be for everyone but organisations that rely on volunteers understand that everyone is different. They are also equipped to help you find a fulfilling role if volunteering interests you, and provide the right training for the role. Before you jump on the phone and volunteer your time to any organisation it is important to research not only the type of work you want to do but you also need to ask a couple of questions about yourself.

Start with:
• Are you outgoing or shy?
• Do you want to use your expertise or learn something new on the job?
• Do you want to make volunteering part of a weekly routine or be called on in a crisis or when needed?
• What area would you enjoy working in?
• Are you interested in trying something new?
• Do you want to develop new skills, meet different people or simply lend a hand?
• How would you like to work? In a team or on your own? Behind the scenes or with the public?
• What are your skills, how much time do you have to offer and how much responsibility would you like to take on?

Asking these questions of yourself will help with deciding where to start. Once you have these answers, gather info on the types of volunteering and the various organisations that are looking for volunteers. You could also try and contact organisations in your local community like:
• libraries, museums and monuments
• theatres
• places of worship
• youth organisations and sports teams
• clubs
• “seniors” centres and service organisations.

Volunteering not only helps those that you are assisting but also yourself. Most people find they feel happier and healthier by lending their time to Volunteering. By volunteering you can gain new skills and knowledge, of which you can add to your resume and boost your own job and career prospects. You can make some really great connections with your local community and (in turn) make new friends. The list of benefits to yourself as well as to your community is limitless. So… if you find yourself wondering what to do with your spare time and/or skill set, why not give volunteering a try… you never know what you could achieve.

The search doesn’t have to be far and wide; right here at Penrith RSL there are many opportunities to begin your volunteering career, with our many Intra-clubs and associations linked with Penrith RSL all run by fantastic volunteers. From Chess to Photography and Cricket to Snooker, even our sub-Branch relies on volunteers to run their day to day operations and special events. These “Intraclubs” are always looking to grow with the help of volunteers.