It’s volunteer week (well, year actually)

We’re just coming towards the end of Volunteers’ week 2011. This fantastic annual event celebrates the contribution of the estimated 22 million people who volunteer across the UK each year. As well as raising the profile of those who already volunteer, the Week hopes to inspire others to get involved too.

Many people don’t think of themselves as volunteers, they just think that they are helping out. Sports coaches are a great example, everyone who ever helped out a school PTA, or helped a neighbour might feel the same.

There’s also a bit of a myth around the amount of time you have to commit to volunteer. It doesn’t have to be a regular, weekly commitment, you can fit it in around your life. With 87% of employers thinking that volunteering can help career progression, many companies will now actively encourage volunteering.

Remote Sensing team clear Home Covert, Hillyfields

Our Remote Sensing team and the truck of rubbish they cleared in Home Covert woods

At Ordnance Survey, we’re lucky to be able to take one day a year as a volunteer day. This can be used for a huge range of things from helping a local school to build a sensory garden, decorating areas for local charities, helping students with interview techniques and so on.

Recently, a group from our Remote Sensing team cleared out the woods behind our head office in the Hillyfields area of Southampton. What could be a lovely woodland walk at lunchtime was spoiled by abandoned car tyres, cables and general waste. Working in conjunction with Clean Team from Test Valley Borough Council, a tonne of mixed scrap was cleared in a day, leaving the woodlands clear to be enjoyed by Ordnance Survey and local residents alike.

If you’d like to get involved with volunteering and feel like you’ve missed the boat this week, it’s also the European Year of Volunteering, so it’s really not too late to get started. Volunteering England is also a great site if you’d like some ideas on what to do.