BRITS are helping others to improve their own well-being – with volunteers and fundraisers benefiting from taking part in charity initiatives by boosting their own mental health.
A study of 2,000 adults found that two-thirds (67%) volunteer for charities in the UK and 64% of those believe that it improves their wellbeing because giving back to others feels good.
Nearly half (48%) said they would like to get involved in charity work to help others with top reasons being to make a difference (50%) and give back to the community (46%).
One in ten (12%) also said they were desperate to start helping out in the near future and on average would dedicate six hours a month to local charity initiatives.
The research was commissioned by community retailer SPAR which is celebrating a fundraising milestone after raising £3 million for its national charity partner Marie Curie – enough to fund 130,000 hours of care from Marie Curie Nurses.
Paul Parkes has been volunteering with Marie Curie for over 20 years, after a student union raffle in 1999 at Manchester University. He donated the money to a local Marie Curie fundraiser and began raising money for the charity every year.
“I started to do more and more volunteering, got involved with the Marie Curie events team and even took up running for the charity! I’d never run before, but I stuck with it and helped raise over £30,000 from about 28 different sponsored runs over the years, including the Great North Run.
“For me, it’s always been about getting other people involved and inviting them to take part in the activities we were doing to ultimately reach our goal. Volunteering is rewarding and I’m passionate about what I do.
“It’s also very humbling as well because of the subject nature of what the charity is supporting. It’s somebody else’s pain and suffering, but if you can make it a little bit better, it makes a big difference.”
Figures from Marie Curie show that every five minutes someone in the UK dies without getting the support they need and by 2048, the need for end-of-life care will have increased by up to 25%.
Marie Curie currently reaches just 10% of those people and the need for their work has never been greater, with people living longer and with multiple conditions.
In addition to raising vital funds, SPAR responded to the coronavirus pandemic by distributing over 1 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Marie Curie Nurses delivering frontline care.
Giving back to others is something that SPAR prides itself on and includes working with charities like Marie Curie, as well as local causes and communities that need support.
Matthew Reed, Marie Curie Chief Executive, said:
“Not only have SPAR colleagues, customers and suppliers come together to raise a phenomenal £3 million, they have shown that supporting Marie Curie’s vital work is at the heart of what they do. We continue to be immensely grateful for the passion and commitment that SPAR colleagues, customers and suppliers bring to our partnership.”