July 2017 : Learning & Volunteering

Learning & Volunteering

With so much going on in our lives it can be difficult to commit some extra time to learning and volunteering. However if we can make some time then the benefits are huge, for both ourselves and the people around us.

It’s easy for us to slip into routines that are similar from one day to the next, focussing on interests that we know we already have. But continuous learning throughout life feeds our brains with the new information that it needs to keep us inspired. Volunteering can broaden our ties to the community, exposing us to a range of fulfilling new experiences.

Learning and volunteering can do wonders for our self-confidence, encouraging us to step out of our comfort zone and commit to something completely new.  This can lead to new friendships with those who have similar interests to us and expand our social networks.

For those around us, the time that we spend learning and/or volunteering can support our friends and neighbours. We all know that volunteering gives something back to our community, helping those individuals or communities in need. The knowledge and skills we develop from learning can be used to educate those around us, passing on our new found wisdom onto people of all ages, including children and grandchildren. This wisdom is what helps others to grow.

And as for our work? Both learning and volunteering can teach us new skills that will look great on our CVs; a particularly good opportunity for those just starting out in their careers or those wanting a change.

There are so many different learning and volunteering opportunities in Bracknell Forest. Not only is the borough home to Involve, which offers support to the voluntary sector and provides a huge range of opportunities to volunteer, we also have access to a range of learning courses, including those run by the Bracknell Open Learning Centre and by Bracknell & Wokingham College. Learning and volunteering can be done at any age and it’s never too late!


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What to look out for - learning

Bracknell Open Learning Centre

Offers a range of learning opportunities for the community at low or no cost. Examples of courses include flower arranging, an introduction to mindfulness, iPad skills and how to use skype. The centre also offers free courses for job seekers and free English and Maths for those without qualifications. For further information visit the Open Learning Centre website, their facebook page or call 01344 354220.

Bracknell and Wokingham College

A local further education college offering courses for school leavers, adults, employers and a number of higher educational courses.  Cookery, crafts, creative writing and languages are just some of the courses on offer. For more information visit the Bracknell and Wokingham College website or call the general switchboard on 01344 766200.

Bracknell Forest U3A (The University of Third Age)

A charitable organization for people no longer in full time employment who wish to continue to be involved  in learning  and sharing. Here you can take part in all kinds of educational, creative and leisure activities and discussions. They operate an open diary for their meetings (2pm on one Thursday each month, often at the Bracknell Open Learning Centre). For further information email info@bracknellu3a.org.uk or, if you don’t have access to a computer, call the council on 01344 351493 and we can help.

Bracknell Explore Learning

A Maths and English tuition centre which works in partnership with local libraries to run a number of free workshops in Maths and literacy for primary school aged children.  They offer free summer workshops in local libraies, parents can get further detail or to book onto the workshops by contacting the libraries directly or by calling Bracknell Explore Learning on 01344 371517.

Online Free Access Learning Courses. These enable learners to have easy access to taster courses from a variety of topics, from mindfulness to global systems.

What to look out for - volunteering


Involve is a charitable organisation in Bracknell Forest that supports other voluntary and community organisations.  It also runs a volunteer centre for Bracknell Forest, with a huge range of opportunities. If you're interested in volunteering visit our learning and volunteering resources to get involved. 

Citizens' Advice Bureau

CAB are not only a place to get advice, they are supported by volunteers, many of whom have transferred a number of skills to help others in the community.  There are many volunteer roles within Bracknell and District Citizens Advice and you’re sure to find one that fits your skills, experience and/or interests. At Bracknell and District Citizens Advice everyone works as part of a team committed to serving their community. Visit http://www.citizensadvicebracknell.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/ for more information.

Bracknell Forest Council

Offers a number of volunteering opportunities for people to be directly involved in making a positive difference to the community and the environment.

There are opportunities to volunteer in the following areas:

Jealott’s Hill Community Landshare

A community garden in which volunteers are integral to the success of the site. There are a range of activities to get involved with, from pruning and digging to planting and woodwork. For further information about the project, visit their website or call 07867695931.

NCS (The National Citizen Service)

A UK based voluntary personal and social development programme for young people aged 15 to 17.  The programme offers structured community based volunteering opportunities. For more information visit the NCS website.


A volunteering website for people searching and posting volunteering opportunities. For more information visit the do-it website.

Careers Springboard Bracknell

Run by volunteers to help people retrain and learn new skills to get back to work.  Operates from Bracknell Open Learning Centre.