It's always interesting to read surveys about what is stopping people from volunteering. Very often we perceive there to be barriers limiting our ability to get involved in helping others, which in reality don't exist.

 

According to the NCVO 29% of the people they surveyed (I'm sure I'll cover the other 71% in a future blog) said a combination of feeling too old and being unaware of the opportunities to volunteer were the biggest obstacles preventing them from getting involved in volunteering.

 

I don't doubt people's sincerity when they say that they see these things as barriers, but I do believe there is an opportunity for every single person out there, and that, with a bit of research I can help them find it. This is why I was delighted to meet with Nigel Hodson, who is the Community Connector for Hanover Housing. Hanover Housing is a not-for-profit organisation which provides affording housing for people over the age of 55. Nigel's role is to make sure the residents of Hanover Housing stay connected to their local communities, as it is very easy for people to become withdrawn from their community once they retire. From our conversation it was clear that Nigel shares my belief that age and lack of awareness shouldn't prohibit someone from volunteering and Nigel wanted to ask for my help in finding the right opportunities for his residents. What we've agreed is to try a jobs-fair-style event for the Hanover Housing residents of Truro. With a little luck we should hopefully be able to address every resident's concern about what stops them from getting involved in their community through voluntary action.

It's important we address these barriers whenever we can. We are an ageing population and if we left myths like "I'm too old to volunteer" go unchallenged then they will only grow, which would be disastrous for communities and the whole of the third sector.

If you have any opportunities you want me to highlight to the residents of Hanover Housing or if you want to pop along to promote your group to them in person please leave a comment below.