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Volunteers play a crucial role in supporting Hospice West Auckland – we simply couldn’t function without them! We currently have over 300 active volunteers contributing their skills and time in everything from retail to driving, companionship to crafting, fundraising to facilitating group sessions and so much more.

The good news is that volunteering not only helps Hospice, it also offers lots of personal benefits. Studies show that people who volunteer are happier than those who don’t. It can boost self-esteem and confidence while providing a sense of achievement as you try out new skills and build new social connections. A UK study involving nearly 70,000 participants found that compared to those who didn’t volunteer, people who had volunteered in the past year were more satisfied with their lives and rated their overall health better.

One volunteer who experiences depression recommends volunteer work to anyone facing similar challenges, saying that it’s harder to feel sad when you’re focused on helping others, or to feel stressed when you’re focused on gratitude. Volunteering makes you appreciate what you have, shifts your focus away from personal issues, and connects you with like-minded people working towards the same cause, all of which contribute to greater happiness.

Children whose parents volunteer are much more likely to volunteer as adults. This is akin to instilling good habits, normalizing and promoting the idea that dedicating time to others and helping the community brings positive benefits to our mental, physical, and emotional health. Research indicates that those who give just two hours a week live longer, feel less lonely and depressed, have a more positive outlook on life, and develop a stronger sense of purpose. Engaging in activities for others without seeking payment or validation can significantly improve your mental health and sense of self.

Society and marketing often try to convince us that money, status and possessions equal happiness. But real, sustainable happiness and health come from what we give, not what we receive. And if you feel like your life is just far too busy or stressful to fit in volunteer work, it might be worth reconsidering. Donating your time activates the caregiving system in our brain, allowing us to see the world with more balance, calmness and composure.

Volunteering helps you feel connected to others, gives you a way to give back, and makes the world a better place. We enhance our own wellbeing by enhancing the wellbeing of others.