Why volunteer?

People volunteer for many different reasons. Your reasons will be personal to you. You may not have even considered volunteering or maybe you don’t know much about what volunteering can be.

VANEL has run the Volunteer Centre in North East Lincolnshire for decades. We’re quality assured and experienced in the whole topic of volunteering. And BLB is part of VANEL, so our programme is well supported to support you.

Younger people often volunteer to gain experience to help with their careers.

Older people often volunteer to find something new to experience or to get them out of the house!

Volunteering can grow social experiences. It can feel ‘useful’. You can ‘give something back’ to your community.

Or maybe you’re interested in something different.

What is volunteering?

If you’re doing something unpaid that you choose to do (rather than have to do) then you’re volunteering.

Although you can often expect to get well supported and get expenses paid as a volunteer, you won’t be paid – that’s ‘work’ instead.

If you ‘have to’ do something – like caring for someone – then that’s not voluntary either. Job programmes also fall into a trap of requiring someone to do something without pay – but at best that is work experience, it’s not voluntary.

What sort of volunteering?

Of course some volunteering involves being in a charity shop! But there’s much more.

Being part of a Neighbourhood Watch group or serving on a committee is volunteering.

Coming along to one of our Rivercleans or other out and about activities is volunteering for your community. BLB volunteers help marshal or steward events – that’s volunteering.

Helping run an event, doing gardening, a bit of administration, doing some tech support for a charity and so much more – it’s all volunteering.

How much time?

As much or as little as you want. That’s why it’s volunteering.

Do a one off event. Do lots. Pop into a charity once a week, or once a day or all week! Help out at a weekend. Do some ‘micro volunteering’ from home, on your computer, whenever you feel like it. Go to a few committee meetings during the year. There are options for everyone.

Is it boring?

You choose. Find something that you want to do – in which case it shouldn’t be boring!

An we’re biased – but we think we’ve got some interesting volunteering opportunities going at BLB. We’re mostly connecting with very skilled people who want to use their skills. So we’re looking at community safety work, community resilience work, making people, charities and communities more resilient and also being part of the solution in emergencies with our upcoming CERT programme (Community Emergency Resilience Team).

So you can be on hand ready to help as a volunteer team should an emergency arise, or you can help tend a care home garden – the options are there.

Your own volunteering journey

What you do is up to you. We’ve got lots of ideas and opportunities, but if you have your own ideas then we’re here to help you turn them into real volunteering. So talk to us.


You can get in touch and talk to us.

There are a lot of volunteering opportunities we can tell you about – a selection of ideas are here.

We’re very specifically looking for ex-emergency personnel for this programme. If that’s not you, then this programme might not be right for you. But you can always visit Do-it here for volunteering ideas and you can generally contact the VANEL volunteer service here for more of a conversation.

But if you are ex-fire, police, ambulance, paramedic then BLB wants to hear from you. We also include ex-military and perhaps you have specific emergency training from a career in industry? Find out more about who can get involved with BLB here.

Good luck with your volunteering.