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Some myths young people have about volunteering……

……and how to dispel them

There is a need to promote volunteering to young people. Despite the benefits they are often unwilling to volunteer. 

Some of the reasons for their reluctance, and how you can counter them, are:

  • They are reluctant to work for free If money is their goal point out the long-term affect volunteering might have on their earning potential. It could help them get a place at college or university and may help them into a higher paid job in the long run.

  • They see it as ‘slave labour’ Many young people believe that volunteers do mundane tasks that no one else in an organisation wants to do. This is not the case. There are many volunteer roles available and young people can choose what kind of work they want to do, depending on their interests. Although they cannot pay them, organisations value their volunteers greatly. Volunteers increase the organisation’s capacity, allowing it to do work that otherwise would not be done.

  • They think they are not old enough In principle anyone can volunteer as long as they are able to do the task required. In reality, it is harder for under-16s to find opportunities because of the capacity, policies and insurance of the individual organisations using volunteers. However, under-16s should not be put off and should seek support and advice from appropriate sources.

  • They don’t have time There is often a misunderstanding about how much time volunteering takes up. Some people think it’s a great deal of time but actually volunteering opportunities can be as little as a couple of hours a month.

  • It’s just ‘not cool’ Volunteering has an image problem. Many young people think people like them just don’t do, it’s just for the elderly or unemployed for example. This is untrue. Thousands of young people across the country volunteer successfully in interesting and meaningful positions.

  • They cannot afford travel expenses etc. Volunteers should not be out of pocket by their volunteering and most organisations will reimburse travel costs.

  • They are concerned about police checks People working with vulnerable groups will need to be checked under the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme, whatever their age. This is the organisation’s responsibility and there is no cost involved to the individual. For young people with a criminal record, a record check can be daunting, though many offences don’t prohibit a person from volunteering. Each case is different and whether or not a young person will be accepted for a role will depend on the offense itself and the individual policy of the organisation. Volunteers must also be prepared to wait several weeks for their record check. This requires them to plan ahead.

  • They ‘can’t be bothered’ Volunteering is a choice not a punishment. People should not be forced to volunteer but point out the advantages to them.

For more information, contact Tebussum Rashid Tebussum@bteg.co.uk

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