GOVERNMENT statistics show that the number of people volunteering in the UK is on the decline.

The annual Community Life Survey suggests the percentage of people formally volunteering formally with an organisation, at least once a month, has declined since 2013, from 27 to 22 per cent. Here are three people who are keen to reverse that trend and share the joys of volunteering, for both themselves and others.

With a keen interest in health and an orthoptic degree from the University of Sheffield, Ali Beg didn't expect to find himself running his own radio station.

But a desire to share health information with the Southampton Pakistani community when he returned home after university led to him volunteering at a community radio station.

"I started the first British Pakistani music show on the station and slowly slipped in health and welfare advice in my shows," explains the 45-year-old from St Marys.

He was keen to give more time to sharing health information, which eventually led to him branching out and launching his own radio station, Awaaz.

"I didn't realise how difficult it would be," he admits.

"I thought it would take a year or two to get it going, but it's taken eight years!

"The cost has been the biggest hurdle. I just didn't realise how expensive it would be, and there was also a lot of red tape."

Throughout this time, Ali has been working entirely voluntarily, supported by friends, family and the wider community.

"There is so much to do in setting up a radio station," he says.

The radio station started out online, and then grew to be on DAB digital radio. But the aim was always to get onto FM.

Awaaz got its FM licence two years ago and has recently launched on FM, having finally bought all the necessary equipment.

Ali hopes that he will finally start to earn a wage from Awaaz early next year.

"For me, the best thing about volunteering is the feel good factor," he says.

"I know that I have achieved something that has made someone else happy.

"I grew up in this community, I have seen the troubles that we go through and how the Pakistani community has not excelled, whether that be in welfare, people living below the poverty line, education or simply not mixing with the wider community," he adds.

"I have been through the racism and the Islamophobia myself. I sincerely feel that our community can move beyond that, but it won't if it doesn't integrate.

"The station is aimed at everyone and we have a shared platform for everyone. There are as many Pakistani presenters as non-Pakistani and we broadcast in nine different languages, including English.

"I didn't realise it would take this long to set the station up but I would still have done it, even if I had," he adds.

"My thinking was always about the community and how I could best serve it."

Hilde Gronsberg, from Shirley, has always enjoyed volunteering, but it became a much bigger part of her life following the birth of her second child.

"After my second daughter was born I found it quite hard to return to work, with the times that they wanted me and because I didn't feel comfortable with leaving my girls with other people," says the mother of two, who are now aged three and six.

"But I got bored just being at home. Then one day I was in the play park at St James' Park in Shirley with my girls, and I noticed a poster inviting people to join Friends of St James' Park (FOSJP).

"I contacted them, was invited to go along to a committee meeting, and have been volunteering there since Autumn 2015.

"I have always volunteered, on and off," she adds.

"I did a lot when I was a student, and have helped with things like the Big Bike Ride in Southampton and at music events.

"I love volunteering. You can try out so many different things, meet new people and have lots of fun."

Hilde's background is in event organisation and she quickly became involved in running events at St James' Park, including the annual dog show.

She also does admin, social media and helps with support groups that are held at the park.

She carved out a niche for herself, and her volunteering has led to seasonal paid work at the park, allowing her to do even more for FOSJP, which has recently gained charity status.

"One of the great things about volunteering is that you get to meet new people," she says.

"As a mother of a young family, you can get stuck in baby world. Volunteering forces you out to meet new people, You get to make new friends, feel part of the community and develop a greater understanding of what's going on around you.

"It's great for me to volunteer with FOSJP because it offers so many possibilities," she adds.

"It's a beautiful park in a busy city. We have a playground, a cafe, a community room and a huge green, which offers endless possibilities for putting on events.

"It's also a melting pot of communities. There are rich and poor, old and young and different cultures all living nearby.

"I feel that by volunteering here, I can make a real difference to the community.

"It's great to be part of bringing people together without big corporations being involved. It's the local community doing it."

Rosie and David Thomas had never volunteered before they became involved with Communicare Southampton.

They first heard of the charity, which aims to enrich the quality of life of lonely and isolated people, expanded into the east of the city, and gave a talk to their church congregation.

The couple, who were both teachers and are now retired, decided to get involved through a desire to help others.

"We have various activities that keep us busy, such as travelling and looking after our garden, and it felt like it was right to do something for the community, and not just ourselves," says David, from Woolston.

David initially joined as a volunteer coordinator, but now runs the office for a day a week and is also a trustee, as well as doing DIY, painting and gardening, while Rosie is a volunteer driver.

"I get real satisfaction from being useful to the community," says David.

"We are fit and have our health and it's nice to be able to put that to use, rather than just pottering round the garden.

"We do have lots to do now though," he adds, noting that the couple now have five grandchildren.

"I didn't start volunteering to relieve boredom, but to be of help to others."

"For me, I can see how helpful it is to the people who I give lifts to," says Rosie.

"Most of them are quite elderly, and some of them are blind. I get to talk to them, and hear their stories. Some of them have so much get up and go! It's a pleasure for me to interact with them, as well as it being useful for them."

The couple are keen to encourage others to volunteer, particularly with Communicare.

"There's a lot of demand for volunteers here, whether that's in the office, gardening, driving or befriending people who have limited social contact," says David.

"Volunteers are always greatly appreciated."

"I often talk to people and suggest volunteering to them," adds Rosie.

"I'd certainly recommend it to anyone who has the time. It's great to meet people with different life experiences. It's for people who like people."