‘Give the January blues a rosy tint by volunteering to help others’

As 21 January – labelled the most depressing day of the year – hits us next week, the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) and Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) are calling on people throughout Wales to give Blue Monday a rosy glow by volunteering their time at a local community group or charity.

As well as making a difference to others, Big Lottery Fund (BIG) research has found that volunteering can help to increase skills, confidence and self-esteem – a welcome antidote to the January blues. That’s why BIG has teamed up with WCVA to encourage more people to volunteer and shake off their post-Christmas blues.

Big Lottery Fund Director for Wales, John Rose, said: “The 2012 Games showed the public’s appetite for volunteering and the thousands of people signing up to support the Commonwealth Games reinforces this. But volunteering for a local project or charity is just as valuable and can have an even greater impact: it can make a significant difference to your community or the lives of people in need, and our research shows it can help to improve your wellbeing too.”

As well as volunteering for projects funded by the Big Lottery Fund, there are thousands of other activities and charities in need of support.

Highlighting the benefits of volunteering, Tim Day, Director of Volunteering and Policy at WCVA, said: “Every volunteer will have their own story to tell as to why they do it and what they get out of it. For some it’s a natural way of life to get involved with their community, working together with others and doing what they care about.

“For others it’s a new adventure, motivated perhaps by the need to gain experience in a particular skill area, or to ‘move on’ after a life-shattering experience such as illness, bereavement or redundancy. Volunteering, which by definition involves no financial reward, does in fact reap huge, intangible rewards. You only have to ask a volunteer to find out!”

Interested in becoming a volunteer? For more information on volunteering opportunities in Wales visit www.volunteering-wales.net