When you think of volunteering, what image springs to mind? Bucket-shaking to fundraise for a charity?  Helping to build a house abroad? Befriending an older person? Volunteering is all these things but also many, many more. Volunteering is a wonderful way of learning new skills, meeting new people and making a difference in your community.

Of course, it’s also a great way of sharing your skills with others - why not volunteer your social media skills to help an up and coming organisation? Play music for older people at a local convalescent home? Organise a fashion show with a local charity shop? Or perhaps there is a cause that’s close to your heart – whether you’re a wildlife aficionado, a music lover or you’re passionate about helping those less fortunate than yourself, anyone can volunteer and there are countless ways in which to do so.

Summer can be an ideal time for developing skills and making new friends. You need to make time for yourself and for discovering where your passions lie. What better way to achieve this than through volunteering?

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. To see how you could start volunteering this summer and to read some inspiring stories of how others have made a difference, visit www.volunteer.ie

Volunteer Ireland, the national volunteer development agency, which promotes and supports volunteering in Ireland.