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The Rewards of Volunteering in Retirement

Retirement marks a significant milestone—a time to bid farewell to the daily grind and an invitation to spend your time exactly how you wish. For many retirees, this newfound freedom means a chance to give back to communities through volunteering. What better way to while away the hours than by making a meaningful difference in the lives of others and reap the rewards of volunteering in retirement?

If you decide to take up a voluntary role in the community, on an ad hoc or more permanent basis, there’s some good news! It’s not just those that you are giving your time to who will enjoy the benefits of your volunteering. Organisations such as the Royal Voluntary Service say more than 80% of their volunteers find improved mental health and sense of well-being as a result. Even better, almost half think it has improved their physical health too.



Here, we delve into the many of the rewards of volunteering in retirement and how it can enrich this new chapter of your life. We’ll also make some suggestions as to volunteering roles that could help you to make a real difference.


Purpose, fulfilment, and making a difference

Volunteering provides you with a renewed sense of purpose and fulfilment. Contributing time, skills, and expertise to causes you care about can have a positive impact on them and you. Whether it’s mentoring youth, caring for animals, or serving meals to the homeless, volunteering offers a meaningful way to leave a lasting legacy. And perhaps the biggest rewards of volunteering in retirement is the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of others.

Opportunities for further learning

Volunteering offers the chance to continue learning by exposing you to new experiences, challenges, and perspectives. Whether learning new skills through volunteer work or gaining insights into cultures and communities, it can keep you intellectually stimulated and engaged, throwing up lots of opportunities for personal development.

Physical and mental health benefits

As we touched on previously, engaging in volunteer activities can have significant benefits for both physical and mental well-being. Studies have shown that volunteering is associated with lower rates of depression, greater life satisfaction, and improved overall health.

An isolation antidote?

Giving your time freely to others can also be a way to combat feelings of isolation or loneliness that may arise when leaving the traditional work environment. Volunteering fosters a sense of belonging and camaraderie. It can lead to strong new friendships forged through a common desire to give back to others.

volunteer 1


If you’re looking to become a volunteer and need some inspiration, then here are just a few ideas that could provide fulfilling and engaging ways to give your time.

Be a canine companion

If you’re a dog lover there are plenty of opportunities to make some new furry friends in your retirement. The Dog’s Trust has national vacancies for off-site dog walkers getting you out into the fresh air for exercise as often as you like, and ensuring the dogs at their rescue centres do the same. The Cinamon Trust is another national charity that pairs willing participants with elderly people who may have limited mobility or health conditions that mean they can’t walk their pets as often as they’d like. Their volunteering programmes help people to keep their beloved pets, without the animal having to be rehomed.


Preserve our heritage

Volunteering for the National Trust is a remarkable opportunity to immerse yourself in the preservation and celebration of Britain’s rich cultural and natural heritage.

Your time may be spent helping to maintain Britain’s historic properties, tending to gardens, leading guided tours, or engaging with visitors. The bonus of volunteering for the National Trust is the chance to explore stunning landscapes and iconic landmarks, delve into fascinating history, and connect with like-minded individuals who share their passion for conservation.

It’s extremely easy to find an opportunity near you. Simply visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/support-us/volunteer and click on ‘search our volunteer roles’ to find the nearest place looking for helpers.

volunteer charity shop

Become a shopaholic

Many charity shops are reliant upon volunteers which helps them to make profits out of second-hand donations without adding wages to the list of expensive overheads. You may spend your days organising merchandise, assisting customers, or managing donations, and you’ll play a vital role in the day-to-day operations of the shop.

Perhaps you have a history in retail, or you simply enjoy the company of others, if so, lending your time and skills to a charity shop can make a tangible difference. Volunteering in a charity shop also helps you to stay active and meet like-minded individuals who share their passion for giving back.

British Heart Foundation has charity shop volunteer roles across the country


Help with hunger

The cost-of-living crisis has thrown even more people into financial hardship and food poverty meaning that volunteering in a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or food bank is a powerful way to make a direct and meaningful impact on the lives of those facing hardship in your community.

Volunteers play a vital role in addressing the immediate needs of vulnerable individuals and families. By contacting one of these organisations, you can offer compassion, support, and dignity to those experiencing difficult circumstances. It’s a humbling and rewarding experience that requires passion, generosity, and understanding.

volunteer clean up


Volunteers Week is a fantastic opportunity to kick off your volunteering career. It throws the spotlight on volunteering opportunities and helps to unite causes with potential volunteers who are keen to take their first step towards a more philanthropic lifestyle.

From open days to celebration events, every year hundreds of online and in-person activities take place across the UK to mark Volunteers’ Week and celebrate volunteers.

This year Volunteers’ Week will culminate in The Big Help Out, from Friday 7 to Sunday 9 June, where people across the UK will get the chance to experience a range of volunteer taster sessions.


In conclusion, the rewards of volunteering in retirement are varied and exciting. From finding a purpose and forging social connections to promoting physical and mental well-being. By giving back to communities and making a difference in the lives of others, you can find fulfilment, joy, and a renewed sense of purpose. So, whether it’s a few hours a week or a long-term commitment why not consider volunteering in your retirement?

Contact Burghley Retirement Living to browse our collection of luxury retirement apartments in Shipley, Derby, Thornton-Cleveleys, and Brighouse. Visit https://burghleyretirement.co.uk/locations/ to download a brochure or call 0800 999 1989 to arrange a personal tour.

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