Wessex Community Action is the council for voluntary services in Wiltshire and provides practical support for community organisations on funding, governance, planning, policy development, recruiting and leadership. This monthly volunteering column looks at all aspects of volunteering and how people can give up their time for the benefit of their communities.

One of the reasons why people are put off signing up to become a volunteer – even though they’d like to – is a lack of confidence.

A recent survey carried out by NCVO, called Time Well Spent, found that would-be volunteers worry they won’t have the rights skills or experience, are concerned they don’t know where to find opportunities that fit their lifestyle and have misgivings about fitting in or being asked to commit more time than they can really spare.

These doubts are one of the reasons why Wessex Community Action is developing a volunteer centre for Wiltshire. Volunteer and Community Development Worker Sarah Pickering said: “We understand that all of the fears people have are valid but with the right support to find a role that matches a person’s circumstances, passions, motivations and interests, it can be really rewarding and actually bring increased confidence.

“It is a great stepping stone towards improving a CV or getting back into the world of work after a break, as well as way to make new friends and find sense of belonging in your community.”

Sarah and the team can support anyone to look for opportunities that match their situation and ensure that both the volunteer, and the organisation seeking help, have the right expectations. “Our approach is volunteer centred because we want anyone who comes to us to enjoy their volunteer journey as an enriching experience, while supporting a causes they care about.”

Wessex Community Action’s free online portal Wiltshire Together is an ideal place to see what opportunities are available. It allows users to browse and pledge interest for opportunities listed by dozens of organisations across the county. Users can set up a member profile that allows them to log their volunteer hours, which can help with CVs and employability prospects.

Among the openings on the site is an opening with Blind Veterans UK, which is seeking home visitors, particularly in Trowbridge, Devizes and Warminster. Community home visitors provide crucial social interaction for veterans who can’t reach the charity’s centres, and can often feel isolated or lonely. A weekly or fortnightly visit could be just a chat and a cup of tea, helping out with odd jobs or helping them to get out and about. There is no personal care involved and the only real requirement is being reliable and punctual.

Said Sarah: “We can make introductions to groups and charities on behalf of any of our volunteers to make sure it all works as well as possible. We want these opportunities to be as valuable to the volunteers as they are to the groups who offer them.

“I’d advise anyone interested in giving up some of their time to register with Wiltshire Together to see what’s available but also to contact us because we really can help.”

Contact Sarah at volunteerdev@wessexcommunityaction.org.uk or there is information on Wiltshire Together’s Volunteering in Wiltshire page at wiltshiretogether.org.uk/wiltshire-volunteering