Why you should volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to enhance your time at university, gain new skills, and get involved in the community.

Primary page content

Volunteering is when you spend unpaid time doing something with the aim of helping individuals or groups who are not related to you, or to benefit the environment.

Why you should volunteer

As well as making a positive impact on those you help, volunteering can improve your wellbeing, expand your network and help you develop skills that help to enhance your CV.

Volunteering opportunities are flexible in nature so you can fit them around your studies.

Roles include anything from mentoring young people to befriending the elderly, managing a charity’s social media account to guiding tours around museums. There will be a volunteering role to match your motivation, passion and goals.

Professional Benefits of Volunteering

  • Good route into working in the Third/Voluntary Sector
  • Try out sectors of employment before you pursue careers in them
  • Build your networks
  • Build up a portfolio of creative work, for example web design, social media management
  • Looks great on CVs and application forms
  • Shows that you are motivated by more than just a salary
  • Community Volunteering can be recognised on your HEAR
  • Hours spent volunteering can count towards the 40 hours of co-curricular activities needed to complete the Gold Award
  • You could also find yourself nominated for the Goldsmiths Community Volunteering Award

What people say

Gill Jarman

Gill Jarman, one of the directors of CEN8, a Community Interest Company based on campus

“CEN8 benefits hugely by having students volunteer for us – they not only help us to run a variety of innovative projects but also ensure that our ‘behind the scenes’ workings such as marketing and social media are kept fresh and that our reach grows even wider.

"All our volunteers bring commitment, energy and a dedication to both share with and give back to others from our diverse community here in South East London.”

Anni Chen

Anni Chen, a third year Business Computing and Entrepreneurship student

“Volunteering at CEN8 allowed me to take time away from my studies to focus on less stressful but productive tasks.

"It also helped introduce me to new friends outside of my course. When you go for an interview for an internship or a job, experience is key. You need to talk about the skills you developed and the only way to make it convincing is to talk about your experiences.”

Anni completed the Gold Award, was shortlisted for Goldsmiths Community Volunteering Award.

Sam Hawksley

Sam Hawksley, Development Lead at Lewisham Local

“Student volunteers bring a fresh perspective and a range of different skills that can help us develop. Their passion and enthusiasm can help generate new ideas and give our projects and ideas a new lease of life. We have had over 15 different volunteers from Goldsmiths doing a range of different roles.”

Lewisham Local is a charity who encourages Lewisham people, businesses and organisations to give, to connect and be inspired through initiative and events.

Fiona Lochtefeld

Fiona Lochtefeld, MA Social Anthropology, worked at Lewisham Local as a Social Media Volunteer

"Volunteering with Lewisham Local was a great way for me to integrate myself in the local community and make some new friends. It also gave me a lot of valuable experience to put on my CV, which was really important to me because I wanted to be as well-rounded as possible. I wanted to do more than just study in London and volunteering was an amazing way to do that."

Where you can volunteer

Here are some organisations Goldsmiths’ students have volunteered for over the last academic year, and some which are local to Goldsmiths.

  • Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL)
  • Lewisham Multilingual Advice Services (LMAS)
  • Lewisham Local
  • Voluntary Action Lewisham

Arts and Culture

  • CEN8
  • CoolTan Arts
  • Dulwich Picture Gallery
  • Entelechy Arts
  • Greenwich Heritage Trust
  • Horniman Museum and Gardens
  • Royal Museums Greenwich

Education

  • Beanstalk
  • Future Frontiers
  • Into University
  • Team Up

Mental Health

  • Heart and Soul (arts and mental health)
  • Lewisham Speaking Up
  • South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLAM)