2011 is also the European Year of Volunteering.
Millions of people across the UK give their time to thousands of organisations on an unpaid basis.
Volunteering is a great way of sharing your skills and knowledge with the charities, organisations and businesses that need it.
You can get involved, however little time you have to give and there are hundreds of organisations that could benefit from a few hours of your time.
- Many care organisations wouldn't survive without the help of volunteers. Earlier this year I was involved with the Hairy Bikers new series - Hairy Meals On Wheels, looking at the lack of time people have for volunteering and ways that even the busiest of people can find a few hours a month to help.
- All the hundreds of events run every week are supported by an army of volunteers. Where would the London Marathon and 2012 Olympics be without volunteers?
- Much of the countryside wouldn't be as it is without the working parties of volunteers who give up their time in all weathers to maintain paths, clear scrub, pick up litter.
- Charity organisations rely on volunteers for fundraising, to staff their shops, help out at events, carry out tasks and daily activities.
- Schools rely on Parents to give their time to Parent groups and volunteers to help children with reading.
- Do something associated with your work, interests or try something totally different.
- If you spend all your week in an office - why not get involved in one of the many outdoor groups.
- It's a good way to find out more about an organisation that you'd like to work for and looks good on your CV.
- If you're out of work or you've recently been made redundant, volunteering can be a good way to get back into work mode and can lead to a permanent position.
- If you're feeling isolated - volunteering can be a good way to get out and about, meet people and do something for others.
- Get your workplace involved - many businesses allow their staff to give up some of their work time to volunteer. Get your whole team involved for team-building with a difference - support a community project with your skills or just your time.
How much of your time do you give to volunteering? You can volunteer as a one-off or give a few hours a month or every week. You can do as much as little as you want.
Your time is valuable - not just to you but to many of these groups and businesses. Here are a few ways to find out more.
If you'd like to but just don't have the time - get in touch and let's see what I can do to help.