Last week was Mental Health Awareness week and the theme this year is ‘moving more for our mental health’. It’s no secret that moving your body is good for your physical health, but there is strong evidence to link it to improvements in your mental health! Huw Edwards, CEO of UK Active said ‘more people are recognising the incredible mental benefits of being active in their daily lives, not just the physical rewards’. 

These rewards include relieving stress, gaining confidence, building a new routine, and getting a better night’s sleep. The Mental Health Foundation reported that studies showed there is a 20-30% lower risk of depression and dementia for adults participating in a daily physical activity. When you engage in physical activity, there is an increase in the production of your brain’s feel good neurotransmitters, called endorphins; it can also help to increase the release of dopamine which improves mood, sleep and memory. 

While some of us might be tempted to take up running, or swimming in order to get moving, volunteering is arguably another impactful way to support your physical and mental wellbeing.

What are the benefits of volunteering on your physical & mental wellbeing? 


Most of the volunteering tasks at FareShare Sussex & Surrey involve a lot of physical movement. Jo, one of our driver’s explained how this helped her to gain a sense of satisfaction:

“Last summer, after volunteering with FareShare for three years, climbing in and out of vans and carrying countless trays of food, l decided to test myself and see if l could finally do a press-up. Much to my delight, l succeeded! In fact, l managed four and my current personal best is twelve! It gave me a great feeling of satisfaction and l do them regularly now, even if l am feeling tired, because l know l can.”


The pandemic taught us that we need connection to thrive in life, yet approximately 3 million people in Britain are feeling lonely, undoubtedly having a negative impact on mental health. 

Volunteering allows a space for connection and community in a really unique way. In our recent volunteer survey:

– 63% of the people said that volunteering helped to reduce their feelings of loneliness, and

– 75% said one of the motivations for coming is because they enjoy the company of the people they volunteer with. 

Whether chatting out on a delivery route, or weighing carrots in the warehouse there is a chance to chat about interests, the football score, or how you’re really doing. As the activity is the main focus, it’s a gentle way for people to form connections and ease into conversations. 


Doctor Tristian Inagaki on Michael Mosley’s podcast ‘Just One Thing’ explained that research revealed people performing acts of kindness had lower levels of systemic inflammation, which could reduce the risk of many major diseases. In a 2023 study acts of kindness had a significant effect on mood on those experiencing mild depression or stress.

Doing meaningful things such as acts of kindness and volunteering for a good cause evokes good feelings, and, as the study shows, actually has benefits on our wellbeing and long term health. What is great about the work that we do at FareShare Sussex & Surrey is that everyone can play a part towards a common goal, in turn leaving you with good feelings knowing that you’ve made a tangible difference. 


Joining a volunteering session is a great way to get out of the house, to be away from a desk or to engage in some additional exercise. This is definitely the case for our E-Cargo Bike volunteers who deliver vital food to projects across Brighton on an electric bike. 

These local bike deliveries allow us as an organisation to care for our environment a little bit more, but also it means we can deliver to spaces that are harder to reach in a van. Adam, one of our riders, shared a picture with us on his ride last summer as he took a little pit stop break on Brighton Beach, no doubt a boost for his wellbeing. The bike does most of the work for you whilst you get to enjoy being outdoors and putting a smile on people’s faces – what could be more rewarding than that?

So if you’re looking to get moving for your mental health whilst making a HUGE impact in our community around you – we’d love to hear from you! 

With summer on its way, it’s an excellent time to join our E- Cargo Bike team in Brighton, if you are interested in a tour or trial on the bike please email

Join us in Guildford! We are recruiting for volunteers to support our work in Surrey, especially drivers for deliveries. You can read more about it here.