Since the beginning of the New Year, the Volunteer Centre in Andover (or Romsey) has already seen a big increase in the number of people who want to try something new, suggesting more people than usual actively want to help their local communities.

Traditionally the aftermath of Christmas and New Year has produced greater interest in volunteering, but 2016 seems to be generating a keener interest than before in people willing to use their skills and experience for the benefit of others.

With around 200 vacant volunteer roles in the Andover (or Romsey) area alone, ranging in task from conservation to cookery; and for people interested in anything from film to finance, there is usually a role for everyone.

“People volunteer for a whole range of reasons,” says Tessa Makepeace, Volunteer Centre Manager. “There is a wealth of experience, knowledge and compassion out there with people willing to share it for the benefit of others and the Volunteer Centre is here to match volunteers with local organisations.”

Many volunteers help because they want to meet people or to gain real work experience as a way to help them into paid employment. It also provides an opportunity to regain confidence and self-esteem, giving people a reason to get up in the morning and allowing them to gently ease back into a routine. “It can also help with overcoming other barriers,” said Tessa. “We recently found a position for a young lady who had recently arrived in this country, whose first language was not English. We managed to find a volunteer role and her language skills have improved so much she now feels confident to start applying for paid work.”

The majority of roles don’t require particular knowledge or qualifications and where necessary, specialist training is usually provided free of charge, meaning volunteers can gain new experiences and enhance their CVs at the same time. “Volunteering should be a win:win situation, with volunteers gaining at least as much from their involvement as the organisations they are supporting. All most organisations ask for in return is reliability, commitment and a genuine desire to help their communities,” Tessa explained.

To find out more about the roles available, volunteers can call the Test Valley Volunteer Centre on 01264 362600 (01794 519998 Romsey) or visit www.do-it.org to see the roles being advertised by them.

Polly has almost 20 years in the media industry. As Editor of Andover and Villages, she strives to bring the latest and greatest news with a minutes notice. Polly can be contacted via editor@andoverandvillages.co.uk or alternatively called at