Volunteering activities for the whole family - #IVD2018

Volunteering activities for the whole family - #IVD2018

How can families volunteer together to help others who are less fortunate than themselves?

Sylvia Green names some great suggestions on International Volunteers Day

These days, most children in the UK are aware of the needs of those less fortunate than themselves and they care very much about the natural world. Many are keen to help out but it is not always possible for children to volunteer on their own due to strict regulations. However there are many opportunities for children to volunteer along with their families.

The National Trust has lots of opportunities for family groups to volunteer at sites across the country. Examples of the things you could find yourselves getting involved with include planting flowers or vegetables, helping to chop down trees, cleaning up a beach, building a dry stone wall or even dressing up and talking to visitors.

The RSPB also needs families to volunteer together. One easy job which you can do from home is to take part in the annual Big Garden Birdwatch. It usually takes place in January and needs you to record the birds in your garden on that particular day.

They also have a Wild Challenge which involves giving nature a home in your garden. Plus children can join the RSPB Wildlife Explorers which gives children hands-on explorations and discovery.

The Conservation Volunteers – TCV – works with people across the UK, helping them to discover, improve and enjoy their local green spaces.

If you and your children are interested in insects then you can help Buglife to discover how some of our rarest and most spectacular bugs are doing. Buglife need families to take part in wildlife surveys.

Operation Christmas Child is a part of Samaritan’s Purse UK. They are an international relief and development organisation that works through local churches to proclaim and demonstrate the love of God amongst communities in need. Operation Christmas Child has a mission to show God's love in a tangible way to children in need around the world by organising and delivering Christmas shoeboxes. The shoeboxes are filled by families all over the UK with small gifts, toiletries, sweets and stationery items. Children find this a fun thing to do and you can track your shoebox online to find out where it has been sent. 

There are also some great opportunities around the world for families with children of all ages to take part in voluntary work while on holiday. You could find yourselves helping to build a school in Kenya, cleaning beaches in Wales or even working with mahouts and their elephants in Thailand. More information can be found here

If there is a charity you are particularly interested in it is always worth asking them if they have any opportunities for whole families to get involved.

Some dog rescue centres need people to help with walking the dogs. Children are sometimes allowed to do this with their parents.

Many towns and villages have organised clean-ups of beaches, parks, towpaths and open spaces where children can help to pick up litter – from plastic bottles to fishing nets.

A local wildlife hospital or animal shelter may need newspapers or old towels for their enclosures.

Or there may be a care home nearby where the elderly residents would welcome a young visitor and their family to chat to them or read to them.

Volunteering with a family can be a fun way of learning something new and sharing experiences together.

Children learn to be a valued member of a community and gain strengths and qualities that they carry with them for life.