An informal conversation and guide to the sometimes confusing world of volunteering.

We're celebrating...

This week we’re excited to shout about 2 milestones in our Junction49 project;

  • the 8,000th person has registered to use our online community
  • the project is currently featured on the Orange RockCorps website as an innovative initiative facilitating great volunteering experiences.

Junction49 inspires and supports young people to set up and deliver their own projects, campaigns and events around issues that matter to them. If you’ve got an idea to improve your community and want some support to make it happen, get in touch with Sarah

Take a look at why Juliana, a volunteer claimes "Don't keep your dreams to yourself, tell someone and they can help make that dream come true.” 

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Breathe easy

If you're 18-25 and have asthma, or care for someone who has asthma in England then Asthma UK want to talk to you.

They're looking for volunteers to take part in a residential weekend not only to learn more about managing your asthma but also to help shape the work they're doing. For example, this will help with developing a scheme for young people that have asthma to support other young people with asthma.

It's a great chance to get your voice heard. The weekend will be happening in Manchester on 5-6 February 2011. It won't cost you anything more than your time either as they'll pay for accommodation, food and they will even cover travel costs to and from Manchester.

Find out on the website or for an application pack email Clare or you can ring on 020 7786 4989.

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Little red hen

When will you make time to volunteer?

If you don't, what volunteering might you miss out being the recipient of?

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Can I join in your conversation?

Who do you talk to about your volunteering? Is it something you're proud of and shout about to the world? Or do you only really talk about it to those you know volunteer themselves or at least consider themselves to be 'charity people'?

I'm only asking because we think that by telling people about your volunteering it will help others decide what they want to do and will get more people volunteering.

So we're giving you a place to do just that. We're trying something that's never been done before and have developed a way for volunteers to rate their volunteering. Just like Trip Advisor or Amazon Reviews.

So are you a volunteer that's already sharing their experience online and could now do it via our new website? Have you created your own facebook group of volunteers that would love to know about our new idea? Or am I missing a trick with all your volunteering tweets?

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Hold on to your hats

This morning's journey into work was a bit blustery to say the least. I was truly glad I didn't have to walk across London Bridge - that seemed a scary prospect after literally being blown to work.

But, I digress. Although I was blown around a bit, I must say, it's great to swish through the leaves and get the rain on your face. It's refreshing (even though your hairstyle leaves a lot to be desired). So, I was thinking, wouldn't it be good to get out in the fresh air volunteering?

Wrap up, get your wellies on and volunteer outdoors with organisations like BTCV and The National Trust. You don't have to volunteer for hours on end - you can do them one-off if you like too.

Find out other ways to use your gardening skills for organisations like WRVS or Age UK here

Forget the hairstyle. Get outside and get some fresh air.

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I'd rather have a volunteer than an electric shock

Apparently, applying a tiny electrical current to the brain could make you better at learning maths. It sounds a bit scary to me.

So, if the idea of jolting children to solve their maths problems doesn't really appeal, why not think about becoming a numbers volunteer?

Number Partners is a volunteering programme designed to support young people across the country with their number skills. Volunteers from the business world visit primary or secondary schools to play number games with students, making maths fun and boosting students' confidence.

You don't need to be mathematical genius, but do need an interest in young people and numbers, and able to offer up to one hour a week or fortnight at a school.

Sign up now - it's as easy as 1,2, 3.

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Could you help relieve squaddie stress?

Every year a third of the servicemen and women who leave the military will experience mental illness. Many will also experience homelessness, drug or alcohol addiction and unemployment.

Have you served in the armed forces or have you got family or friends who have? Do you live or work in London? If so, you could volunteer to help an ex-soldier adapt back to civilian life and maybe even prevent problems such as homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction and unemployment.

I think mentoring is one of the most impactful forms of volunteering there is - for you and the person you mentor. With Rememberance Sunday just around the corner, what a powerful way to remember and say thank you to those amazing people that have fought for our country and now desperately could do with your help.

Our Chief Executive Helen Walker talks exclusively on the Guardian Society website about the launch of our new mentoring project for ex-servicemen and women and is calling out for 70 mentors to sign up.

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Sparking ideas

'Don't keep your dreams to yourself'.

Take a look at why Juliana, a volunteer on our Spark project, knows that with the right support, you can achieve things you didn't think were possible.

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