There are two sides to this strand: 1) volunteering as a well-recognised route to support an individual’s or community’s physical and mental wellbeing; and 2) as a route to add value or enhance statutory services offered by volunteers using their experience to shape the offer. Importantly ‘giving’ is promoted as one of the five ways to wellbeing . Whether playing a significant, complementary role to paid professions or volunteering in a local community, volunteering generates an improved sense of wellbeing for both the volunteer and those they support.
The health and wellbeing of our society underpins so much else in life, whether this be happiness, jobs and productivity, school attendance, sense of community, condition of health, and life expectancy. With an estimated 3 million people in England giving their time to support health and social care, and almost 10 million supporting sport and physical activities, the pandemic has limited the extent of many of these activities and is now entering a critical stage of rebuilding. There is evidence that people’s wellbeing is suffering in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic and that there is a risk of inequity in the offer of volunteering opportunities when those who would most benefit from these are least likely to take them up.
The Health and Wellbeing workshops will explore and address a range of considerations including: