Community Service Facts

Community Service Volunteers in the U.K

The community service sector represents a growing area of importance for many residents of the UK, both domestically and abroad. The facts on increasing participation in the community service sector give a clear message about its increased role. In the 2008/2009 fiscal year, some 71 percent of adults in England spent some amount of time volunteering, with some 47 percent volunteering at least once a month. For many people, working in community-oriented endeavors offers the potential to break the routine of daily working life in the private sector while also making a meaningful contribution to the general social welfare.

If you have felt some interest in participating in community service provision abroad, this article attempts to provide some basic facts and background information that will help you further this interest. Getting involved in a volunteer capacity abroad is becoming more and more common and easy for people to do.

Finding an organization that interests you

Within community service, a growing number of people are choosing to get involved in countries around the world which demonstrates need. The facts suggest that thousands of UK citizens choose to volunteer abroad every year, in a wide range of programs. Perhaps the first step in planning to work in community services abroad is to think about location.

Location entails a number of different considerations. Climate in many low or middle income countries can be dramatically different than the UK—thus it is important to be aware of how the weather differs in countries your are considering volunteering in. Additionally, safety can be a concern depending on location, with some states exhibiting greater instability or higher rates of criminal activity than others. Before making a final decision on a country you would like to carry out community services in, it’s important to check the facts and travel advisories section of the UK Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to see whether there are any issues which could jeopardize your safety.

Beyond location, it is also important to determine the type of community service organization you wish to get involved with. Community services cover a vast array of different programs, including public health, education, social services, environmental programs, food distribution, building shelters, and youth outreach programs, just to name a few. Different countries are also likely to have different needs depending on the issues they face. All of these facts should be taken into consideration when planning your volunteer time.

Preparation for volunteering

After you have established a location and an organization in which to participate, there are a number of other considerations. Vaccinations are an important one. It is important to check the public health facts and requirements for the country you intend to do community service in—some may require a full range of immunizations against different diseases, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis or typhoid.

Another question that you should consider is the visa requirements of the country you intend to travel to. While some countries may only require a tourist visa for volunteer work, others may require a specific volunteering visa. If in doubt, contact the foreign embassy or consulate of the country in which you intend to travel to ensure you have accurate facts about the visa and entry requirements.