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Volunteering: Rewarding way to make difference in community

VOLUNTEERING is a rewarding way to make a difference in your local community - and in your own life.

In Queensland, almost one million people volunteer their time each year for a cause close to their heart.

Research shows that volunteering not only benefits the community around you, but also boosts feelings of wellbeing and provides a greater sense of purpose in life.

In 2014, according to Volunteering Queensland, volunteers provided 133.4 million hours of work, worth $11.6 billion to the Queensland economy.

Many charities and causes rely on the generosity of volunteers to continue doing their vital work.

Whether you can volunteer regularly, or intermittently, here's why you should give it a go:

1. Research shows that people who give their time for a cause they believe in often have a greater sense of purpose and lead happier lives. Whether you volunteer by fundraising or organising an event - giving back can provide great fulfilment in life. 

2. Volunteering builds strong relationships. If you want to strengthen friendships and meet new people, volunteering is a great place to start. It helps build ties in the community, broadens your support network and connects you with like-minded individuals. Volunteering alongside people with similar interests is also incredibly motivating and inspires many to go on and achieve even greater things. 

3. Volunteering gives you an opportunity to learn new skills and develop the ones you have, all while making a difference. Through this, many people also find new hobbies, which in turn boosts levels of confidence and self-esteem.

4. Without volunteers, many community organisations could not deliver the services and opportunities they currently do. You might not realise it, but just a few hours of your time can actually have a tangible impact on your community. By fundraising for a charity, you can help reach those less fortunate, and by raising awareness of a cause, you can help advocate for change.

You often don't need a specific skill set to make a difference - all you need is a big heart and a bit of spare time.

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