Anyone can volunteer and there are opportunities everywhere that are suitable to a person’s sets of skills and interests and time schedule. Service opportunities that are well-matched with what a person has to offer can provide measurable health and social benefits for a volunteer. Often this is not considered when thinking about volunteering as many who volunteer often do so to make a difference in their community or to help out a segment of society such as the disabled or the elderly.
One of the ways to volunteer that is often overlooked is to help animals. Many animal charities exist on limited funds and therefore volunteers are much needed and appreciated. Volunteers that help with animal welfare can get involved in kennel duties, carrying out wildlife surveys, assisting with fundraising or working on specific projects.
Rescue Helpers Unite is a non-profit organisation for volunteers and animal rescues where people can save thousands of cats, dogs and other animals from unnecessary destruction. The group has been in existence since 2007 and has helped animal rescues to recruit volunteers and animal lovers from around the United Kingdom. Those who volunteer for Rescue Helpers Unite help rescues with animal fostering and transportation, home-checking, fundraising, administrative assistance and raising awareness about animal rescues. The community of Rescue Helpers Unite has grown so that it now has pages on its web site for animal rescue calendar events, rescue animals in need of adoption and a directory of animal rescues in England, Scotland and Wales and by animal type and breed of dog.
One of the largest organisations involved in helping animals is the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), which was founded in 1824. The Society has numerous branches and animal and wildlife centres across the United Kingdom. The RSPCA relies on volunteers and its supporters to achieve respect for and live in harmony with those in the animal kingdom. Volunteers provide help with animal welfare, by contributing to the work the Society does in preventing cruelty, promoting kindness and alleviating the suffering of animals.
Volunteers for the RSPCA are typically over the age of 18 and need to complete an application form, attend an informal interview and provide references. Before starting, volunteers attend an induction programme and any additional training that may be needed for the role for which they are volunteering.
Global Vision International (GVI) is a unique volunteer organisation that works with some of the most well-known, respected and high-profile partners in the world to enable it access to many restricted locations to help with animal care. In these parts of the world, people may be lacking in the knowledge about the proper care of pets, domestic animals and sometimes wildlife as a whole so that animals in these areas may not be properly cared for. Volunteers with GVI get actively involved where this knowledge is needed and educate people in these communities about controlling population numbers, sanitation, care and veterinary services. Volunteers for GVI find their experiences highly rewarding and even life-changing.
Established in 1988, Ashbourne Animal Welfare is dedicated to rescuing and finding homes for stray and unwanted dogs and cats and provide veterinary care before the animals join their new homes. The organisation requires volunteers to help in its efforts.
Animal Accident Rescue Unit (AARU) is based in Nottinghamshire and run by volunteers and rescues animals by providing transportation services for injured and sick animals and birds to veterinary services and also finding homes whenever possible.
The Bristol Dogs and Cats Home was founded in 1887 as a shelter for dogs and since then has grown in size so that it is now home to a variety of animals, including rabbits, cats, birds, ferrets and other small animals. These days it needs volunteers to help with walking dogs.