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Volunteer this week to help you

In the fast pace world we live in, it can often be hard to find time to volunteer. However, research shows that the benefits of volunteering can be enormous for not only the communities you help, but also yourself, says New Zealand’s first volunteer app Collaborate.

“There’s a growing body of evidence which shows volunteering actually provides you with a wide range of mental health benefits such as reducing stress, loneliness and depression while also keeping you physically fit and healthy,” says Collaborate CEO Poppy Norton.

“We’re calling on Kiwis to join us in celebrating National Volunteer Week this year by connecting with voluntary opportunities to support a social cause, charity or organisation while also improving their own mental and physical wellbeing.”

Inspired by popular dating apps such as Tinder, Collaborate has paved an innovative approach to connecting communities and making it easy for volunteers to make a real difference with their skills.

“National Volunteer Week is a time to celebrate the incredible mahi of volunteers around the country. It's also a time to challenge ourselves as a sector to innovate and respond to how people want to engage in volunteering. Collaborate is doing just that,” says Volunteering New Zealand Chief Executive Dr Katie Bruce.

Hamish Thornton, Manager of Wellington based mental distress support service ‘Peer Tree’, said one volunteer found their journey to be lifechanging.

“A volunteer of ours, who connected with us through Collaborate, told me recently that volunteering for Peer Tree had been an incredibly eye-opening experience. By virtue of our community existing, we are enabling people to form meaningful connections with one another that blooms from a shared lived experience of mental distress.

“There is something very uplifting and liberating about helping to lead a community with a kaupapa deeply embedded in healing and pursuing wholeness, not in isolation, but together,” says Hamish.

A 2019 High Tech awards finalist; Collaborate matches people with volunteer opportunities relevant to their skill sets and interests. Community organisations post specific opportunities to the app, such as short-term web designing or a beach clean-up, which are then browsed by potential volunteers who connect instantly with activities of interest to them.

To sign up to Collaborate as a volunteer or if your organisation is seeking voluntary work, head to www.letscollaborate.co.nz.

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