National Volunteers’ Week: Being the Change

Our annual celebration of all things volunteering will soon end… National Volunteers Week (June 1st-7th) will be back in 2024, but what will be different – both for us in the sector and the communities we support? If we have learnt anything from the history of the last 15 years, it is surely that change comes at you fast! The question is; how do we ensure that we can be the change we want to see? 

Whether it’s celebrating and inspiring or strengthening the diversity of contributions; we can’t be static in the 51 weeks of the year when we’re not in ‘celebration mode’. Whether for national campaigning groups, service delivery organisations, mutual aid or every town and village’s version of Beazley Street Community Association; the need to be the force for positive change is paramount. Politics and Governments may try to influence direction, but it is the experience of volunteers – seeing the reality of people’s lives – that matters. That should always be the most influential player in change.  

Covid and the cost of living crises opened our eyes to how vital the ‘on-the-ground’ capacity of volunteering is. With that comes power and responsibility. This power is already manifesting itself with a new, more collaborative approach towards our sector, from Local and National Government. The responsibility it brings is to ensure that it is never taken away again. We are serious players in serious times. 

In a world where the loudest voice isn’t always the most perceptive or productive, and where attention spans can be short, it is imperative that our experience helps shape the future and ensures any change is helpful. We do that best by continuing to be ourselves. Volunteering is the quickest and most effective way to bring change. Whether small scale or the first step in a thousand-mile march: our contribution is needed everywhere.  

Michael Green, Volunteering Kingston Project Manager 

Published by Volunteering Kingston and Volunteering BarnetGroundwork London’s volunteering services. 

 Become a volunteer! Browse current opportunities with Volunteering Kingston

National Volunteers’ Week: Diversity is a strength, our strength

A friend of mine texted me in advance of meeting up in a pub recently. They felt the need to explain the diverse characteristics of their friend (who was considering joining us). Those characteristics seemed no more unusual than is the welcome norm in places like London.

I reflected on this and felt that, whilst the pre-explanation was unnecessary, the fact that diversity is the norm is something to reflect joyfully on. 

In volunteering, diversity has existed for a long time. Yes it, like all aspects of our society, has taken time to evolve and becomes more inclusive as we can learn ways of best practice. But the reality is, the range, issues and diverse clients of voluntary organisations, the issues those organisations are embedded in, and the range of clients served have meant volunteering has always been an outlier for progress and change. Long it may continue.   

What volunteering has shown again and again is that as diversity becomes second nature the strength of the sector, and the individual driving forces behind that strength, grow exponentially. Signposting, social prescribing, opportunities for all, reaching out to the seldom heard or seen, welcoming those displaced…  All these cascade engagements and understanding, which then allows for enhanced contributions and shared experiences across a wide range of diverse backgrounds. A virtuous circle we can all enjoy. 

National Volunteers’ Week (June 1st to June 7th) will celebrate the strength of diversity – and rightly so. Ultimately, when we celebrate that diverse strength in volunteering, we are celebrating ourselves. 

We are all diverse, all different, all unique in so many ways; and we contribute to a united strength that is unsurpassable. 


Michael Green, Volunteering Kingston Project Manager 

Published by Volunteering Kingston and Volunteering BarnetGroundwork London’s volunteering services. 

Become a volunteer! Browse current opportunities with Volunteering Kingston

National Volunteers’ Week 2023: Celebration and Appreciation

As we are all aware, the Coronation recently passed. Crowds gathered, traditions were upheld (and some slightly modified), the great and the good attended, our media shone a light onto the sideshow of personalities and the weather, in typical British fashion, rained on the parade.  

Kings Charles III dedicated the weekend of his Coronation to the Volunteering Spirit within his realm and The Great Help Out was born. Whilst such events might not truly reflect the breadth of the 24/7/365 volunteering that takes place across the country, if it inspired people to keep contributing to their community – then that is no bad thing! 

National Volunteers’ Week (June 1st to June 7th) follows quickly… Here is a time to celebrate and inspire that comes around every year. It, like The Help Out, isn’t the be-all and end-all of showcasing volunteering – that is done again every day by volunteers on the ground. But it is an annual, welcome, chance to thank and appreciate those whose contribution is one of the most important unifying glues in our society. 

A cost of living crisis so soon after a pandemic has all the potential for discouraging and undermining that glue. What National Volunteers’ Week will helpfully do is give us all an opportunity to reflect and take in the sheer scale of what millions of individual contributions can make. The celebration that we invite you to take part in is the appreciation of the contributing individual. Saying thank you when you see a volunteer between June 1st and 7th is a great thing to do. Appreciating what volunteers do all year is even better. 


Michael Green, Volunteering Kingston Project Manager 

Published by Volunteering Kingston and Volunteering BarnetGroundwork London’s volunteering services. 

Become a volunteer! Browse current opportunities with Volunteering Kingston

Balancing kids, work and volunteering

I volunteered, many years ago, then kids came along and there didn’t seem to be much spare time anymore. As the kids grew up, I’d got into the habit of work filling the time available, so I still didn’t seem to have a lot of time. It was after the covid lockdowns that I realised that I did have time, I just needed to organise myself better and remember what I got out of volunteering. 

 I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do; I knew regular weekly slots was best for me rather than ad-hoc. I also knew I’d prefer something that got me out of the house. I’d heard of Anstee Bridge previously and been to a couple of their ‘tea parties’ so when I saw them asking for volunteers on Volunteering Kingston, I got in touch with the project manager, Katherine. 

She and Laura were warm and welcoming from the start and always immensely thankful to all their volunteers. Anstee Bridge works with teenagers who have social, emotional and mental health issues. They are referred by their school and usually attend one or half a day a week to do creative workshops. 

I go in for half a day a week and stay with the same young people for the year. I get to know them and see them bloom as their self-esteem increases, and I get to take part in great workshops like candle making, circus skills and painting. I have the simple role of making these fantastic, but troubled, youngsters feel good about themselves through learning new skills in a safe environment. I am well supported by the staff if there are concerns, but that is rare.  

I really enjoy volunteering at Anstee Bridge. I know I help the young people, but I also help myself by giving myself time away from work emails and stresses of general life. When I’m there, it’s not about me or my worries, so they drift away for a few hours, and I feel better at the end of it. 

I’ve also worked with others to start a charity – Friends of Anstee Bridge – to help raise funds for the projects and artists Anstee Bridge use to help the young people. As the chair of trustees, I can say that trustee volunteers work so hard, but it is also rewarding. It suits me to be involved in both, but whoever you are giving time to you will get so much in return. 


Liz Green, Volunteer in Kingston 

Become a volunteer! Browse current opportunities with Volunteering Kingston

National Volunteers’ Week: Guidance pack for VIOs

Volunteers’ Week is a national campaign which takes place between 1-7 June every year. It’s a chance to recognise the fantastic contribution volunteers make to our communities and say thank you.

Volunteers’ Week is supported and celebrated by small grassroots organisations as well as larger, household-name charities, who together run hundreds of activities across the UK. These activities showcase and celebrate volunteers and the contribution volunteering makes to our communities. As a Kingston Volunteer Involving Organisation, we’re asking you to join us in thanking and celebrating the brilliant volunteers giving their time across our borough.

We have created this organisation campaign pack to support you with communications and volunteer engagement through NVW2023. You will find advice and recommendations for ways to give thanks to your volunteers, including social media templates. We hope you find it useful!

Download our guidance pack here: National Volunteers’ Week Organisation Campaign Pack