Volunteering could lead you beyond the charity shop
Volunteers Week began on Monday, but a special free course to pass on basic volunteering skills is to be held in Boston on Thursday and Friday, June 18 and 19.
The Lincolnshire Volunteer Card course gives a basic understanding of everything from health and safety to customer care. The course is being delivered in Boston, South Kesteven, South Holland and East Lindsey by Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS).
Lifelong fundraiser and volunteer Robert Fink (49) attended a LCVS Lincolnshire Volunteer Card course last year.
He said: "I think Volunteer Card training should be compulsory before people volunteer. Usually when you volunteer you get really basic and even lackadaisical instruction.
"This training reminds you of all the wider responsibilities and all there is to consider when you are working for or representing an organisation.
"For organisations it reduces the chances of something going wrong and ensures the volunteers are of a certain standard and have up-to-date information.
"A side benefit comes in the people you meet and in discovering a little about all the different volunteering opportunities there are.
"If someone identifies something they really enjoy doing they are more likely to stick with it, to offer more and to get more out of it."
In addition to providing the Lincolnshire Volunteer Card training, LCVS has experts whose role it is to match volunteers with roles that perfectly suit their interests and level of commitment.
LCVS also works with organisations which involve volunteers to help ensure volunteers are well looked after and get the best experience possible.
Robert began volunteering aged 16 when he teamed up with friends to raise money for the residential home his mother worked at after it was burgled.
Every year since he has picked an organisation to fundraise and work with and has helped raise hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Last year he was called upon last minute to help with a fundraising event that saw a new world record set. He helped by bowling balls to cricketers who batted for 48 hours.
He said: "It was very exciting to be a part of something like that and it shows volunteering is not just about doing two hours a week at a charity shop.
"If you put yourself forward for these things you can suddenly be called upon to do something really exciting at short notice."
The next 12-hour Lincolnshire Volunteer Card course takes place in Boston on Thursday, June 18 and Friday, June 19. Book a place at http://bit.ly/1MaI64y or call LCVS on 01205 365580 ext 204.
If you are interested in volunteering contact your local LCVS Volunteer Centre, which are based in Boston, Spalding, Louth and Grantham.