By Nikki Pulford, Food Safety Manager

When I first heard about Co-operate, Co-op’s online community centre, I was really excited to sign up to volunteer in my local community. I’ve recently moved areas and don’t know that many people yet. I thought volunteering for a local cause would help me make connections and give something back to the community.

Looking for opportunities was really easy. I simply entered my location on the Co-operate homepage, which brought up a whole host of options. I was then able to narrow my search down to the type of activity I wanted to get involved with and the opportunity which matched my skillset.

There are a wide variety of opportunities to suit your availability and what you’re passionate about. 

Finding the right opportunity

Once I’d found the right opportunities, I filled in the short form on Co-operate which was then sent to the organisers of each group. I signed up to Bury Fire Choir, a non-profit emergency services choir, as well as wellbeing service One Step Bury.

The organisers called me within two days to set up a meeting so we could get to know each other. Our conversations were friendly and informal and we worked the volunteering around my work patterns. The organisers were thrilled to have me on board, as it meant they could expand their services in the community. 

I visited each group to meet the organisers and some of the members, (who were all very friendly). I also learned about each group’s history and purpose, and we discussed how I could support in the future. 

Since starting my volunteering at Fire Choir, I sing in the choir and support with marketing and organising. At One Step, I deliver holistic sessions such as guided meditations, yoga, exercise and mindfulness to support mental wellbeing. 

I’ve made friends in both groups and really feel part of my new community. I’ve been humbled by the people I’ve met the experience of supporting others is rewarding and has developed my confidence and sense of purpose.

How you can volunteer through Co-operate

For anyone who hasn’t used Co-operate before, I’d encourage you to give it a go. There are so many opportunities available and you can narrow down your search to find the ones that are right for you. 

You’ll make a positive difference in your local community, while enriching your own life too! 

Colleague guide to volunteering and community activity

This guide provides you with everything you need to know about volunteering in your local community.