Life can get pretty hectic from time to time. Kids, day jobs, money worries and relationships all want a piece of us, so come the weekend it’s no surprise most of us just want to flop on the sofa with a packet of biscuits.
But what if you did something different? Something that’d get you out of the house and meeting new people? Something that was fun and inspirational, and not only good for you, but good for others – and the environment – too?
Every year, millions of people in the UK donate a small chunk of their free time to volunteering, which basically involves giving a bit of unpaid help to groups, clubs or organisations in a way that benefits others or the environment. And it’s a growing trend. During 2010/11 39% of adults in England said they’d formally volunteered once in the previous 12 months; in 2012/13 that figure rose to 44%. That’s 22.7 million people donating a few sofa hours to good causes!
And it’s good for your health. Giving up some of your free time is an altruistic activity that can reap rewards not only for your soul (to give is to receive, after all), but your body, too. Researchers have found that volunteers have healthier cardiovascular systems, older volunteers are less likely to be depressed, and that heart health significantly improves after just 10 weeks’ volunteering. Take that, low-cholesterol margarine!
There are all kinds of volunteering opportunities available, particularly in the environmental sector, and you don’t even have to be that keen on nature – or even being outdoors – to get involved! Whether you’re an armchair activist or full-on eco-warrior, take a look at what you could do for these great organisations. Sure beats another weekend on the sofa.
There are gardens all over the UK crying out for a bit of TLC, and the ones at properties owned by the National Trust provide some of the most rewarding gardening opportunities going – after all, your own garden isn’t part of a palace or stately home, is it? From planting and pruning to helping community groups grow produce on the organisation’s allotments, becoming a volunteer gardener with the National Trust is a great way to share and indulge your love for horticulture. Visit their website for more information.
How about combining your volunteering experience with a bit of get-fit? Forget military-style workout bootcamps, the Conservation Volunteers have an eco-friendly and award-winning alternative: Green Gyms. An opportunity to improve both your health and the environment, Green Gym leaders will guide you through a range of practical projects, giving you the opportunity to tackle physical jobs in the outdoors while improving your strength, stamina and body confidence – all while benefitting your local community. Visit their website for more information.
Want to help the environment without actually being in the environment? Check out the range of volunteering opportunities available through environmentjob.co.uk. Show off your spreadsheet skills, flex your organisational prowess or let your leadership shine; there are lots of office-type voluntary opportunities on offer – many of which can be done from home!
If you love being immersed in the great outdoors, why not dedicated a few hours a week (or however much time you can spare) to pursuing your passion and helping others? Volunteers with Natural England can take up roles as wardens or walk leaders, or help with vital habitat management, surveying and monitoring. The organisation estimates their volunteers give around 29,000 days of support each year, meaning more time can be spent on protecting the natural environment we all love. Check out volunteering opportunities here.
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Additional terms and conditions
Please see below for full terms and conditions on 33% renewable electricity, 3% interest rewards, exit fees and saving claims.
1Monthly cost - Representative monthly direct debit costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas) paying in advance by direct debit, including online discount. All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
2Weekly cost - Representative weekly costs based on a non-economy-7, dual-fuel, medium user (3100 kWhs elec. and 12500 kWhs gas). All rates correct as of 23/08/16, but may go up or down.
3Pay Monthly Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYM OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.
4Pay As You Go Savings are based on the average estimated annual costs for new PAYG OVO customers quoted through the OVO website (based on household and/or consumption information provided by those customers), compared to their current supplier and tariff. Comparisons taken between 01/01/2016 and 11/10/16. Incl VAT. Actual savings may vary according to your current supplier or tariff, individual tariff options, household information, consumption and location.
We include almost twice as much renewable electricity as the national average: At least 33% of electricity in all of our tariffs comes from renewable sources. The national average, according to Ofgem as at March 2014 was 16.7%. For more information please visit this page.
33% of your electricity comes from renewable sources: 33% renewable electricity as standard as of 1st April 2015. Renewable electricity is generated from wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogas.
3% interest: Calculated at 3% per year, paid monthly based on number of days in credit and the amount left in your account after you’ve paid your bill. OVO Interest Reward is capped at 12 times the amount of the current direct debit amount and is available to customers paying by advance direct debit. Terms apply: http://www.ovoenergy.com/terms/
95% of new customers save when switching to OVO: Based on all new customer signups between 01/02/2016 and 31/07/2016
94% of surveyed customers would recommend us: OVO conducted a survey of their customers in between 1st January 2016 and 15th April 2016. Out of 15,312 customers who responded, over 94% rated OVO 6+ when asked 'how likely would you be to recommend us to a friend and family, on a scale of 1 to 10.
Britain's top rated energy provider: Britain's top rated energy provider in the Which? 2015 satisfaction survey. Survey conducted in October 2015. Awarded in January 2016.
uSwitch's Energy Supplier of the Year: OVO energy was voted and awarded 'Energy Supplier of the year' and best for: Overall Customer Satisfaction, Most Likely to be Recommended, Value for Money, Best Deal for You, Customer Service, Billing Services, Energy Efficiency, Meter Services, Online Services, Green Services and Transfer Process. OVO Energy scored a 96% customer satisfaction score.