This year we are delighted to partner once again with Healthy Ireland for National Volunteering Week. In this blog, Kate O’Flaherty, Head of Healthy Ireland tells us why she believes volunteering is such a valuable part of a healthy society.

At Healthy Ireland, our aim is to create an Ireland where health and wellbeing is valued and where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health to their full potential. There are many aspects to our work and we focus on a number of key areas to encourage and support people to lead healthy lifestyles. We are helping people to improve their diets by helping them to Eat Well, to become more active and Be Well and to look after their mental wellbeing and Think Well.

We work in partnership with many and varied organisations, and Volunteer Ireland is one of our key ‘Think Well’ partners. Our current campaign is aimed at helping people to get “off the couch” and get out and about and get more active, improve their diet and to mind their mental wellbeing.

Social interaction is crucial for good mental health and a growing body of research indicates strong links between community involvement, volunteering and emotional wellbeing. People who volunteer report feeling useful, purposeful and valued. They feel connected to the community and have a sense of belonging. And the volunteering you do will also likely have a positive effect on the health of your community, so it’s a win-win.

Maybe you want to get active but aren’t a big fan of sport? Or maybe you’re feeling a bit lonely or simply want to get out and about?

If you choose something that you’re passionate about, something you’re good at and something that fits in to the time you have volunteering can have a real positive impact on your life. Volunteering can help improve your confidence through acquiring new skills and personal growth, all important for maintaining your wellbeing.

If you choose something active it can also be a great way to help you fit in some of your 30 minutes a day physical activity too.

We are delighted to be supporting National Volunteering Week this year and celebrating volunteers and communities across the country.

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