Volunteering for HMUK - A personal experience
Liam Taylor
Liam Taylor
5th December 2016
Volunteering for HMUK - A personal experience

Volunteering is far from a modern concept. “When old men plant trees whose shade they will never know; society grows” said an unknown Greek philosopher. “Change the world” said many of the hero's of the 1960’s counterculture.

The modern concept of volunteering started in the late 1800s and by the 1960s, as the world became more connected and individuals became more empowered, people wanting to make the world a better place were able to grow the concept of volunteering from small community groups and religious societies to a global movement championed by world leaders and governments. In 1985 the UN designated 5th December as International Volunteer Day (IVD), 2016’s theme is #GlobalApplause – give volunteers a hand.

HMNI1I volunteer with Help Musicians UK. The UK’s leading charity for professional musicians. Sadly music can often be an unforgiving industry to try and make a living in and as shown by Help Musicians UK’s recent MAD (Music and Depression) campaign mental health issues among musicians are staggeringly high with as many as 65% of those surveyed reported to have had suffered from depression. More information about the survey can be found here.

Help Musicians UK are honestly an incredible organisation that enhance the lives of emerging, professional and retired musicians in areas as diverse as funding, career advice, bereavement, mental health, terminal illness, hearing loss prevention, retirement and so much more that you can find out about at helpmusicians.org.uk. Obviously I was very proud and eager to volunteer to help with Help Musicians UK’s Northern Ireland launch.

The launch featured 31 events across 10 days in 8 of Belfast’s most iconic music venues before concluding with a “day of gigs” which saw me and fellow volunteer Siobhán Day hosting an open mic in the middle of Castlecourt, one of Northern Ireland’s busiest shopping centres, complete with it’s own surprise flash choir. The opportunity allowed me to listen to some great local talent, raise funds and awareness for Help Musicians UK and meet some lovely people from HMUK’s London

hmni2As I said before music can be a very difficult industry to make a living from. It can be even harder to get your foot in the door, which why I think volunteering is such an incredible and underappreciated opportunity in the music industry. As a young person with ambitions for a full time career in music I know that many of my peers wanting to break into the music industry are

often left with no choice but to slave away preforming meaningless clerical duties with little thanks or recognition.

This is why I feel so grateful and lucky for the opportunity to be a volunteer with Help Musicians UK where I can learn relevant skills, gain practical experience, be valued and appreciated as part of a team, meet new people, and best of all walk away with a sense of accomplishment and pride from working with an organisation that has made a massive difference to the lives of so many musicians.