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Volunteer to achieve your New Year’s resolution

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It’s the time of year when we vow to improve our lives – and ourselves! – and whether your New Year’s resolution for 2011 is to lose weight or gain friends, volunteering can help you achieve your goals. Don’t believe us? Choose your resolution from the list below – and see how becoming a volunteer this year can change your life for the better…

‘I want a new career’
Volunteering is a great way to gain experience in a new sector that you’re interested in working in. Whether that’s children, the elderly, the environment or animals, volunteering can help you get a foot in the door in your chosen field and build up experience in that area. It’s also a wonderful way to gain new skills – administrative, caring, technological or other – which you can then take with you into a different job or career. It doesn’t just have to be limited to the area you want to work in, though: because whatever the role, being a volunteer is one of the best things a potential new boss can see on your CV!

‘I want to make new friends’
If you want to widen your social circle or simply feel less isolated, don’t be afraid: sign up to volunteering. Doing volunteer work is a wonderful, low-pressure way to introduce a whole new circle of people into your life – many of whom could be potential new friends. And because volunteering brings people together who all care about a cause, you’re guaranteed to meet likeminded folk. So, take the plunge and find a volunteer role in a field you’re interested in – the arts? Social media? Care work? – and hey presto! Watch your circle grow, and friendships blossom.

‘I want to lose weight/get fit’
Environmental groups and charities are always looking for people to carry out physical tasks – so what better way of getting in shape than by helping others at the same time?! Making a commitment to conservation work, for example, is also making a commitment to a healthier lifestyle: so check out i-volunteer’s opportunities in community and regeneration work and in the field of the environment to get some inspiration and find a role that suits you. Whether it’s building a community garden, painting much-needed facilities or restoring a natural area, the opportunities to get your hands dirty for a good cause – and get fit in the process! - are endless, and you can give as much or as little time as you like.

‘I want to improve my love life’
Volunteering means meeting likeminded people - so not surprisingly, it can lead to romance! Whether you’re doing physical work for the environment or joining together on a big arts performance, volunteer work can often be fun and sexy – and as it’s low-pressure, it makes a refreshing change from trawling bars, clubs or websites in the hope of meeting Mr or Ms Right. And if you need extra proof: The third most popular reason for doing volunteer work, according to a recent poll of volunteers, is to ‘feel sexy’. So there you go!

‘I want to be happier!’
As volunteering helps you to feel connected to your community, other people and the world at large, it’s not surprising that it also makes you happier. By making that leap and taking yourself out of your normal environment, it can also help you to grow in confidence, gain skills and experiences you’ve never had before, and boost your self-esteem. As i-volunteer’s recent poll showed, happiness is the main benefit people get from volunteering – so becoming a volunteer in 2011, remember that you won’t just be helping others: you’ll be helping yourself, too.

For more volunteering opportunities, news and views i-volunteer is the place to be!

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