The call for NHS volunteers saw 750,000 people sign up within a week. This is a significant opportunity ‚’ it shows how many UK citizens are willing and want to volunteer their time and skills to help wider society! I believe traditional systems for volunteering don‚’t allow enough flexibility and opportunities that are inclusive or capitalise on all of the people willing to offer their time/skills.
NHS’ use of the GoodSam app highlighted how other tools for volunteering are clunky, difficult to search, and rarely provide opportunities to volunteer remotely or ad-hoc, thus impacting inclusivity. The opportunity – an improved mechanism for volunteering should be established, many aspects of the NHS volunteer app could be broadened and a volunteering platform could be nationalised as a centralised and inclusive tool for the UK to lead the way in citizen and societal contributions and create huge positive impact for individuals and communities.
Further, volunteering requires time. It’s a luxury to have time to spare, this is often more easily afforded by the privileged than by underrepresented groups. For example, finding time to volunteer is much harder for those who work long hours on minimum wage, or have care responsibilities, or for people with disabilities that may restrict ability to travel to volunteer. This is even more harmful when you consider that volunteering is often a way that employers judge job applicants – it‚’s perceived as proof of people‚’s willingness to help others and can demonstrate skills and experience. This then further increase the inequality gap as those that are unable to partake in volunteering opportunities to gain work experience are deemed less employable than someone who can. It‚’s also a shame that so many talented and helpful people don‚’t have ease to contribute to society- we can change this.