VOLUNTEERING increases self esteem, employability and helps people feel more engaged in their community.

A national survey has revealed the benefits of volunteering, with 60 per cent of participants saying they think it reduces stress and 90 per cent say they feel empowered to deal with issues in their own lives.

The research was conducted by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) to mark Volunteers' Week this week.

The charity, which provides free, independent and confidential legal and financial advice, reported that 100 people volunteered at their Winchester branch last year, helping 5,000 clients with 11,000 problems.

Jenny Meadows, chief officer of Winchester District CAB, said: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of Winchester District CAB. They make a huge contribution to the local community, helping to support approximately 5000 people each year when they need it the most. Now, these figures reveal the benefits that volunteers can expect to see themselves.”