This week is Volunteers’ Week in the UK, celebrating the 12 million people who volunteer with charities every year.

And the impact of volunteering can be huge.

Feel less sh*tty

Nearly 95% of parents suffering with mental health issues saw an improvement thanks to the support of a home-visiting volunteer, research by academics at Cardiff University has shown.

Family support charity Home-Start supports nearly 28,000 families across the UK and the research looked at the impact of volunteers on more than 10,000 families. The research also showed that the more frequently volunteer visits occurred, the faster families improved.

National learning disability charity Hft is also celebrating the impact its 110 volunteers make. These volunteers have racked up more than 8,000 hours of their time in the last year.

The charity offers various opportunities for volunteering, ranging from corporate volunteering and fundraising to a buddy scheme.

Volunteers have the chance to make a difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities, while also gaining confidence, skills and new friendships as a result.

On gratitude

According to the organisation CharityComms, Volunteers’ Week is not just about recruiting volunteers. The charity sector has also been thanking their volunteers.

For example, The Scouts and cancer charity Clic Sargent have made an impression by tweeting video thank-yous to their volunteers. Both the National Trust and Dogs Trust have been busy sharing picture montages of their helpers in action.

Meanwhile the Samaritans created a round the clock ‘day in the life’ of their volunteers video, demonstrating the impact they have on some of the most vulnerable people in society.