12 months ago, I was asked to get involved as a volunteer on a major project – London was bidding to host the Gay Games in 2018.

Having taken on new contracts after finishing at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it could have been easy to pass over the opportunity and concentrate on the business. But it’s a rare occasion when you’re asked to get involved with something that you instantly feel passionate about.

Rather sadly, London’s bid was unsuccessful. Paris won the right to host the Games.  It was a heart-breaking result.

But I have never once regretted getting involved. Volunteering creates a drive within me that I find hard to describe.

During the 12 months I got ill, over-tired, snappy (ask my poor boyfriend), had almost every moment of my evenings and weekends taken up…and we lost! But there isn’t a single thing I would change.  Not one.

Volunteering is a unique thing – you choose the work you want to get involved with. You meet people who feel just as strongly as you about the same cause yet come from ever-varying walks of life.  I’ve met TV producers, graphic designers, PR specialists, the the odd celeb; seen my first LGBT Choral Festival (go see the Pink Singers…NOW!) and met one of the greatest teams I may ever work with.

The work I do for See Reverse is great – it fires my imagination and, luckily, pays the bills. But volunteering drives me – it exposes me to people, companies and skills that I would otherwise be unlikely to come across. I am more marketable, have greater experience, and can talk about work I have done with passion most people cant.

Se here’s the crux of this blog…volunteering can seem daunting: it takes up your spare time, requires effort you  sometimes think would be better placed elsewhere (in my case, drinking gin), and will at times put a strain on relationships and friendships. But for all this, you will feel a sense of pride in being part of something special; giving your time and skills to making something happen. Its special.

Get involved with community groups close to your heart – they always need volunteers. Or search sites like http://www.volunteering.org.uk for things that ignite your passion.

The last 12 months have been really hard and full of highs and lows. I have loved it.

Right, I’m off to find a new project to sink my volunteering teeth into.

Craig Jones

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One response to Valuable Volunteering

  1. Many job seekers overlook the value of volunteering for building relationships and career opportunities. Some think their time is too valuable for volunteering; they don t want to give away a skill for free that they re hoping to get paid for.

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