5 reasons why you should volunteer!

Harriet Bradshaw-Smith recently took on the role of Volunteer Officer at mentoring charity ReachOut, after volunteering with the charity for 3 years whilst studying at University. As well as landing a fantastic job, Harriet recognised the multiple benefits of volunteering. Read on to find out from her why you should volunteer too!

Here are my top 5 reasons why you should volunteer too.

1. You can make a difference

Volunteering allows you to get hands-on and make an impact with projects and initiatives of all kinds whether it be volunteering at a sports club, helping at an animal shelter or working with young people. As vInspired say, there are “thousands of volunteering opportunities across the UK which help young people make a mark on causes they care about” so there’s definitely an opportunity for you to get involved with that you feel passionate about.

2. Give back to your local community

Local charities and projects work directly in their communities to help improve the environment, quality of life or aspirations for the local residents, so volunteering on a local project will have a real impact on the area you’re living in and the people living there. ReachOut partner with local schools to help raise young people’s aspirations and help them grow in character and attainment which in turn improves quality of life for both the individual and in the local community.

3. Challenge yourself and grow

Volunteering gives you a chance to break out of your normal daily routine… challenging yourself can result in new passions and new skills, leading to increased confidence. One of my favourite mantras is that if you fail to challenge yourself you are not living to your full potential, pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone allows you to become more flexible, sharper, and more confident.

4. Boost your CV

Volunteering not only enhances and allows you to gain new skills you may not get from education but also gives you something different to talk about during interviews. Reed, speaking from an employer perspective, believe that “whilst qualifications are undoubtedly of importance, voluntary work can help you get the experience you need.”

5. Meet new people!

Getting involved in a volunteering programme is a great way to meet like-minded people and gain another social group whilst studying. Whether you volunteer with fellow animal lovers, people who have a passion for the arts or those who love sports – you’ll be sure to make friends and love volunteering even more.

ReachOut are looking for volunteers to give a maximum of 2 hours a week to make a difference to the lives of local young people through one-to-one mentoring.

Sign up today: www.reachoutuk.org/mentor or get in touch with your local Volunteer Officer:

London – Harriet

Manchester or Oldham – Davy

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“At first, I was really hesitant to take on the Project Leader role, despite having mentored with ReachOut. However, with the support of the team I’ve really developed my skills. For example, at the Mentee Graduation, I stood up in front of 200 people and presented an award which is something I would never ever have been able to have done before, and isn’t an opportunity I could gain in my other situations.”

Amy McCutcheon, Project Leader at ReachOut Academy, Dean Trust Ardwick, Manchester.


“Being able to spend the summer working at Rede Partners, was an amazing experience. Whether it was working in HR or Finance, I learned so much about the world of private equity, made great connections with fantastic people and I got to learn first-hand what it would be like to work there! I really believe that I can go onto build the career I want now I’ve been a part for a workplace for real”

Victor Adekunle, 18 years old, ReachOut Ambassador, London


“When I first my mentee, she was very reluctant to participate in the sessions. Now, I see a completely different person! Her confidence has grown and she is happy to join in! She still has some self-doubt when it comes to academic work, but that’s what I hope to help her overcome, because she is a very bright person!

Through mentoring, I’ve learnt I’m a lot more patient than I realised. There will be days where she refuses to participate and those are the days that I really see the importance of the character strengths, for both the mentees and the mentors. It also makes it easier for the mentee to understand the character strengths, when I use them myself”

Myrtle, ReachOut Club mentor at Tufnell Primary School, London


“There are more distractions than ever outside of school, and the commitment of our students to attend ReachOut sessions is testament to the value they place on the relationships they foster there, and the challenge and enjoyment they provide.

ReachOut’s focus on communication skills and character development has become an important aspect of our provision of support for these students. The opportunity to relate to a positive role- model other than their usual teachers is key to the programme’s impact, and the evidence of this has been seen in the students’ attendance, resilience and to their overall progress across all the subjects in the school.”

Thomas Janvrin, Assistant Vice Principal at the Petchey Academy London