King Charles III is using his coronation to shine a light on volunteering and Volunteer Centre Dorset has announced that it is to lead on The Big Help Out in the county.
Volunteering is an important part of the UK’s story, from Air Raid Wardens during the Second World War to over 12 million people who stepped forward during the Covid-19 pandemic. Sadly, since the pandemic, volunteer numbers have fallen significantly. The number of volunteers committed to longer-term or ongoing roles has fallen sharply, with many people unable to return to roles they loved, long after restrictions had lifted.
To combat this, work is being done to attract a new generation of volunteers as well as encourage anyone who now feels ready to return to volunteering. Volunteers are desperately needed in all kinds of roles right across Dorset, year round.
The Big Help Out will launch on the coronation Bank Holiday on Monday (8 May), with a ‘national day of volunteering and community action’. This will then continue to build throughout the year.
The Big Help Out will be a launch pad to rebuild a culture of volunteering, when thousands of community groups and charities nationally, will mark the King’s coronation by giving everybody the chance to try volunteering for themselves. Volunteer Centre Dorset will be supporting these organisations, and anyone who wants to step up and help out. They already have hundreds of volunteering opportunities, ready now for anyone who would like to do one-off tasks, help at events, or wants a regular volunteering commitment – the variety and flexibility of roles means there is literally something for everyone regardless of ability, skills, location, or time commitment.
Marie Waterman, CEO at Volunteer Centre Dorset said: “Imagine, if every person aged 14 and over in Dorset made a pledge to volunteer, for even just one hour. We would have a contribution of 326,057 hours of help, skills and kindness to support our community – together we could make a massive difference. We need as many people as possible to get involved, and this includes volunteering in local charities, sports groups, youth clubs, befriending, trustee, fundraising, social action or helping out with one-off tasks as a community volunteer like many of us did during the pandemic.
“Our hope is that volunteering on the coronation weekend will be just the start, and that The Big Help Out will inspire people to get involved in their local communities, and build a habit of being a volunteer for life. We are grateful to King Charles for championing the great work done by volunteers, and his coronation year will provide a unique opportunity to capture new or reinvigorated interest in volunteering and to channel that towards charities, groups and good causes that need them.”
The benefits of volunteering include improved mental and physical wellbeing, making social connections, learning new skills, or helping make a difference to a cause close to your heart. Whether you’re counting butterflies, building a drystone wall, shopping for a neighbour, helping at a youth club, or creating a website for a charity – you can make a difference, and have a lot of fun along the way.
Alongside The Big Help Out, volunteering will be championed and volunteers thanked throughout the year, including across the summer during Volunteers Week (1 – 7 June), Thank You Day (2 July), and the Volunteer Centre Dorset’s Volunteer Celebration Evening on 6 October.
To find out about any volunteering opportunities, or other events and activities across the coronation weekend and beyond, visit www.volunteeringdorset.org.uk.
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