Volunteers’ Week 1-12 June 2016


Do you want to reach out
and do something more?
Well, here’s the open door!
Volunteers’ Week
1-12 June 2016

Volunteers’ Week wants to celebrate the amazing contribution millions of people make out of their own busy lives each year.  And this year the week has been extended for ‘The Big Celebration’, so it will be running from 1-12 June 2016!

All over the country events are held during the to mark the great work done by people like you and me for the voluntary services!

So if you’re asking, why volunteer?  Well there are so many different ways of volunteeting.  For starters, if you’re interested in wildlife you could help the RSPB.  Or perhaps you want to do something for your local community.

How do you go about becoming a volunteer?  Well, firstly there are Volunteer Centres.  These are local organisations and they provide support to volunteers and the organisations that involve them.  You can also visit the national database of volunteering opportunities – Do-it – where there are over one million volunteering opportunities and you can apply to offer your services online.  Or, how about ‘Go On Give an Hour’, whereby you give up an hour of your time to show someone how to use the internet.

Whatever you do, not only will you build your own skills, you’ll feel good about helping others – and there’s no greater feeling than that!

There will be all sorts of team challenges and events taking place over the week.   And you could always create your own!  To find out more, and get your activity on the map, go to the Volunteers’ Week website.

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Ashish Dabral, BT Global Services

For many, when imagining the Himalayas, stunning mountain ranges, exotic foods and being on top of the world comes to mind. The Himalayas are all these things and more. However, amidst the tallest mountains in the worlds are remote villages that struggle to access basic resource. I was born in one of those villages and experienced the daily battle for survival. However, I was fortunate enough to get the education I needed to get a job at BT. Since then I have tried to give children, from villages like mine, the chance to learn. The villages of the Himalayas are beautiful but no child should feel trapped there because of a lack of education.

That is why I set up a primary school and ICT Centre that children, who otherwise would not be able to go to school, can attend. I volunteer on the weekends and teach the literacy and ICT skills these children will need if they choose to leave their remote villages to seek work. This Volunteers’ week I want to celebrate volunteering because I have seen the incredible impact all the volunteers at my school and ICT Centre have. I see children’s eyes light up when they can finally read their first book. And I see the pride on a teenager’s face when they learn a new IT skill.

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Working at BT has allowed my volunteering to have an even greater impact. I have access to a network of like-minded people who volunteer their time to support the school and ICT centre. This has been helped by the fact that BT offers all its staff 3 days paid volunteering a year. BT also runs ‘The Chairman Awards’ a monthly scheme recognising volunteers across the business. With the £500 awarded to the school & ICT Centre we have been able to build four new classrooms, giving even more children access to education.

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I was also lucky enough to win the annual BT ‘Volunteer of the Year’ Chairman’s award in 2015. The £1000 awarded to the school means we will be able to buy a school van so that our pre-school children no longer have to hike up to 4 kilometres each day to get to school. My trip to the UK to collect the award also led to a great opportunity to twin with a UK school, Little Dragons Pre-School in Colchester. This new relationship will give our students the opportunity to learn and share culture, language and so much more.

Since the school and ICT Centre opened in 2014 we have trained more than 1500 students, with some of the children going on to start their own businesses. Education has given these children opportunities to change their lives. And that is why a village schoolroom, staffed by volunteers, can be as awe inspiring as the view from the top of a mountain.

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To find out more about the work BT is doing in volunteering, fundraising and sustainability visit the BT PLC site or follow us on Twitter.

If you are interested in volunteering, fundraising or offering guidance to Ashish’ growing school in the remote Himalayan state of Uttarakhandand please contact Ashish.

Over 21 million people volunteer in the UK at least once a year and this contributes an estimated £23.9bn to the UK economy. Behind these big numbers is a big contribution.

These 21 million people are a shining example of how we can all make a big difference to individuals and communities every day from improving the environment we live in, spending time with those who may otherwise be lonely and contributing to a range of other essential services and support. We believe such a big contribution is worth a big celebration!

Today we’re sharing the news that we will be extending the Volunteers’ Week celebrations this year and will be running the event from the 1-12 June.

‘But that’s not a week!’, I hear some of you cry. And you’re right. So, let me explain why we decided to extend the week this year.

More time to celebrate

This year there are an additional five days enabling more people than ever to take part and more time to celebrate. Since the campaign started back in 1984 people have always been creative with how they’ve celebrated and some of you have already started extending the week, Gateshead’s Volunteers’ Month being a good example.

Events are always a big part of Volunteers’ Week and last year over 750 events were posted on our Volunteers’ Week map from recruitment fairs to award ceremonies and tea parties! It was great to see lots of you making use of our new bunting to celebrate in style.

The end of Volunteers’ Week will also coincide with the Patron’s Lunch on 12 June, a celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s lifetime of service to more than 600 charities and organisations to which The Queen acts as a Patron, on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Communities across the UK will be encouraged to participate by holding their own street party or event. Why not consider including a street party to bring those together in your community.

We’re hoping to see a vibrant mix of activities and celebrations across Volunteers’ Week and replicating the celebration on the mall to demonstrate how communities can come together to celebrate those volunteers who give up their time in the service of others.

More time to get involved

The week will also be a chance to inspire others to get involved. This year we also want to encourage you to showcase the range of volunteering opportunities available. There’s huge choice out there but sometimes people aren’t aware of them or they have a particular perception of what volunteering is about. Why not challenge these perceptions?

You can also use your events to create opportunities for people to give volunteering a try. Event volunteering can be a really great, short-term, flexible way to give people a taste of the volunteering experience.

People are increasingly looking for flexible volunteering that they can fit in around work or other commitments and your Volunteers’ Week ‘Big Celebration’ may just be the thing to attract them. Your event can also be a focal point to get people in your community using their skills, time and talents to help others.

Get planning!

NCVO will be providing all the information, guidance and resources you need to make your big celebration this Volunteers’ Week a success. We are preparing a pack full of ideas and tips for making the most of Volunteers’ Week this year and to help you run your own Big Celebration.

Keep up to date with plans and hear first when our resource pack is available by signing up to our Volunteers’ Week mailing list.

The team will also be providing updates on plans in our monthly Volunteering Round-up on the NCVO blog.

Tell us what you’re planning by commenting on this blog post below, add your event to our event’s map or you can tweet us @NCVOvolunteers #volunteersweek. You can also email the Volunteers’ Week team.

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