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Volunteering In Your Local Community

You may hear the term ‘volunteer’ thrown around a lot by adults and not know exactly what one is. A volunteer is a person who works for an organisation without being paid. Many people around the world are volunteers and help their community in various different ways, whether by helping out at a local youth club or taking part in a nature conservation group; whatever the activity, they all get involved in something that benefits others.

It’s easier than you think to become a volunteer and there will probably be lots of organisations in your area that you can get involved with. It’s very important though to know whether or not a volunteering placement is suitable for you. You may have to be a certain age to do a certain task so be careful and make sure you are very informed about all the details of the role before you start.

So you may be reading this thinking, “What kind of tasks could I do as a volunteer?”. There are lots of things you could do to make a difference in your community – check out a few ideas below:

  • Plant flowers or trees in your local community
  • Help clean up schools, youth centres or other buildings in your community
  • Serve food at a homeless shelter (be careful with this one as you will need to check whether you’re old enough to work in a kitchen)
  • Help at local wildlife conservation groups
  • Help at charity fundraisers or local sporting events

Not only is volunteering a great way to help others and improve your local community, but it is also a brilliant opportunity to meet new people and develop new skills!

How to find information on being a volunteer:

  • Ask in school – your teachers or careers advisor will probably be able to give you some information on volunteering
  • In the library – lots of libraries have posters and leaflets from local organisations, a lot of which take on volunteers
  • Youth clubs – if you attend any youth clubs there may be some posters or other information about volunteering and organisations you can volunteer for in your area
  • Websites such as Volunteering England and the Volunteer Placements section on the Gov UK website.

Our environment is one of the most important things in our lives. The definition of an environment is, “the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates”. Our environment is responsible for plants, animals, food chains, the water and much more, which is why it is very important that we look after it. If we don’t look after it today, who will look after it tomorrow?

There are a number of ways in which our environment can be damaged. One factor that affects our environment is known as ‘pollution’ and is when the air is filled with too many harmful gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. Our environment can also be damaged when small holes in the ozone layer around the earth let harmful amounts of sunlight reach the earth. Even though this information is known by lots of people, the environment is soil being damaged because not a lot of people realise how important it is to humans.

Here are a few examples of how the environment is useful to us:

  • We get food from animals, plants, birds and fish which are all part of our environment.
  • We breathe in oxygen from our atmosphere.
  • We get water from the rain which fills lakes and rivers and we store it in dams, reservoirs, and water tanks. We extract materials from the earth which we use to make products such as clothes and houses.

There are a number of ways that you can help the environment:

1. Use less electricity: Switch lights off when you leave a room, don’t leave your TV on standby, don’t switch on lights during the day, and switch off electrical appliances (TVs, computers etc.) when they’re not in use.

2. Recycle: There are plenty of ways you can “go green” and recycle, for example, you could start a compost heap, throw paper and cardboard into the paper recycling bin, or re-use plastic bags.

3. Save water: Use a watering can instead of a hose when watering plants or vegetables, make sure you switch off taps properly, or consider taking showers instead of baths.

As young people looking towards the future, we can all take responsibility for our planet and environment, making sure that we take care of it today so that future generations will be able to enjoy the benefits in years to come.