Looking for something new to try? Time is everyone’s favourite excuse for not volunteering, but there are so many ways to help that can take less than a few hours a month. With commitment turning to gold dust, lots of charities are asking for your skills over your time. I’ve picked ten unusual opportunities from my favourite volunteering website to inspire you to give volunteering a go, even if you do it just once. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it so much that you’ll want to do more!
I think the best way to approach this one is to pretend you’re in a real live game of Operation, minus the extractions and terrifying buzzing. All you’re required to do is be looked after. That just sounds amazing. You might also have to act a little bit too, and you’ll be trained how to portray the ‘emotional, symptomatic and physical characteristics’ of a real patient. The best bit is you’ll be helping medical students with their training!
You know those quirky little police boxes dotted around Edinburgh? Well, you can volunteer in one of those! That probably makes this the most Instagrammable opportunity on this list right? One World Shop needs people to run their police box for a few hours once a month to sell Fair Trade crafts, food and drink.
If I had this role the first thing I would do is tell all my nephews that I had become a real-life treasure seeker. I would automatically be promoted to coolest auntie! This opportunity is with Oxfam, and it’s perfect if you’re one of those people who thrives in thrift shops and flea markets. You’ll need to be a little bit of a visionary, as you’ll be changing Oxfam’s gallery of frames, paintings, prints and photographs on a weekly basis.
If you’d like to do something fulfilling and a little more artsy, the amazing Grassmarket Community Project need people to lead their creative writing groups. The people you’d be working with are those who are homeless or at the risk of homelessness, and you’ll be joining volunteers to help group members write stories or poetry.
My Gran loved bingo, but I’ve never been a good bingo caller. All the twos twenty-two? That’s an easy one. If you happen to be good at number calling, The Community Alliance Trust is looking for Bingo Callers to liven up their bingo hall.
I’ve always loved the idea of working in a book shop, and I got to sell a few books when I volunteered with the British Red Cross many years ago. This amazing opportunity is with the British Heart Foundation, and I can just imagine all the creative things you could do in this role…I’m thinking of the Emma Watson hidden book notes!
There’s a chance to volunteer with Score Scotland’s Green Futures Project team who do all sorts of activities including delivering energy efficiency advice, beginner’s cycling training for adults, and helping people to grow their own food. It sounds like lots of fun and is a great one to be involved with if you’re interested in the environment and climate change.
If you can play an instrument, this has got to be one of the nicest roles on the list. The Royal Edinburgh Hospital is looking for musicians to play to patients in their library. It’s so important because in this mental health hospital patients have very limited access to music. You can perform as a one off, or on a more regular basis; this could be a great chance to practise playing in front of an audience!
When you were a kid did you ever write messages on bare walls between wallpapering? I loved it! It doesn’t quite work that way with paint, but that’s okay because painting is one of the best kinds of messy fun. Fresh Start is an organisation that runs a service for people moving into a new home after experiencing homelessness. This is amazing, but sometimes the reality isn’t quite a dream come true – especially when faced with a grim flat, peeling paint and dusty floorboards. They’re looking for volunteers in groups of two or three – a ‘Hit Squad’- to help decorate up to two rooms with new tenants. They say it’s good company and great fun!
If painting isn’t your thing, Fresh Start are also on the look out for cooking class volunteers. You’d be running classes with the new tenants as well as offering nutritional advice. This sounds like an amazing way to lead a healthy lifestyle by example and pick up a few teaching skills along the way.