A NEW kind of volunteer is emerging in North Yorkshire following the pandemic crisis.

The North Yorkshire Resilience Survey has highlighted the value of volunteering for communities and individuals, while looking at how local charities and community groups were coping post-lockdown.

It was undertaken by Community First Yorkshire, a voluntary sector support organisation, which is often the first port of call for organisations, social enterprises and parish councils looking for practical support.

Many organisations reported that they had seen a new and diverse group of volunteers coming forward to offer their help, bringing in new skills and more flexible volunteering.

This is one of the surprising positives that has come out of the pandemic, triggered by greater unity and kindness within local communities, says Community First Yorkshire.

It means that many charities and community organisations are now looking to offer more flexible volunteering roles.

Leah Furniss, a development officer with Community First, said: “During the pandemic we saw a different group of people stepping up to volunteer; with many people coming forward for the first time with a desire to do something, to help.

"We are now seeing a significant number of those new volunteers want to continue and more people are coming forward to give the gift of their time.

"What’s encouraging is that organisations are adapting and offering more flexible and short term volunteering roles that reflect what this new group of volunteers want.”

She added: “We know that volunteering is good for your mental health, makes you feel stronger connections with your local community and can help tackle loneliness.”

Community First Yorkshire says it has heard stories of people suffering from isolation and loneliness, making new friends; and individuals struggling with unhealthy work-life balance, feeling inspired to put themselves first.

For details about volunteering, organisations and individuals can visit communityfirstyorkshire.org.uk/what-we-do/volunteering/

Potential volunteers can search by; geographical area, type of role or the time of day they would like to volunteer, or by the type of charity or cause they would like to support.

Once they have found an opportunity they’re interested in, they can message the organisation directly.