• Claire Shelley

Volunteering, small businesses and the local community

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

Colour Run Finish Line

Small Business Owner

If you work for yourself, all your extra time probably goes on growing your business. But have you ever considered volunteering? In my experience it can be hugely rewarding both personally and professionally.

I didn’t work while my children were very young, but I wanted to keep my hand in, so I decided to do some voluntary work.


The obvious choice was to help out at my children’s school. I could be involved in the events my children enjoyed, while helping out and giving back and at the same time. It made sense to offer a skill which was also my livelihood. Over the past three or four years I’ve had various event roles within the PTA Committee and now continue to help out on an ad hoc basis.

School budgets are under extreme strain at present, with West Sussex pupils receiving less funding for their education. The Worthless? Campaign has been actively fighting for fairer funding in West Sussex schools.

You may have seen in the news last week the headteachers marching on Downing Street. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-45665122

PTA fundraising is more important than ever. All funds raised are used to help the school pay for equipment, enrichment experiences for the children and general improvements around the school. It feels great to be able to contribute to things which will help the children now and for years to come.

This weekend we hosted the East Grinstead Junior Colour Run for the second consecutive year. The colour throwing starts long before the fun run. In fact you could argue that you probably don’t need the running bit at all! Each year the children have had an absolute blast and the field becomes a colourful mess. We like to invite local businesses to support our events. This year included Meridian FM who provided the PA system and some motivational tunes!

Local Business Community

By volunteering I have benefited far more than I anticipated I would. Volunteering provides opportunities to network. You get to know people in the local business community, people who you wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to meet.

Giving back introduces you to new friends and may help you to develop new skills that will advance your career.

If you’ve not volunteered before, give it a go! It doesn’t matter what you do. If you are not sure where to start, try contacting https://www.ncvo.org.uk/ or https://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/volunteer/national for local opportunities.

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