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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
PA Reporter

How to get involved in The Big Help Out initiative


Today Britons are being encouraged to take up hundreds of thousands of volunteering roles highlighted as part of coronation celebrations that aim to reflect the sector’s central role in the UK’s “national story”.

A special bank holiday has been set aside for volunteering in a tribute to the King’s lifetime of public service.

Love Island star Faye Winter and Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Deborah Meaden are among the celebrities who have been promoting The Big Help Out, with more than 1,500 charities involved.

New opportunities offered to members of the public via the organisation’s app, which launched in March, include options to help the elderly, the environment, support animal welfare and work within their local communities.

The initiative is a formal part of the King’s coronation, with people encouraged to either lend a helping hand today or arrange another opportunity to volunteer their time or skills.

The Big Help Out app can be searched by postcode, the type of activity needed or the organisations involved.

To find out more visit the The Big Help Out website here.

The project aims to raise awareness of volunteering opportunities throughout the UK and was devised by leading charities, including the Scouts, the Royal Voluntary Service and Guide Dogs.

Organisers hope for an unprecedented community mobilisation to “underscore the central role volunteering plays in our national story” and to inspire a new generation of volunteers throughout Charles’s reign.

The minister for ceremonial events, including the coronation, Stuart Andrew, said: “The Big Help Out will shine a spotlight on the power of volunteering to help our communities. It is a tribute to His Majesty the King’s lifetime of public service and a wonderful way to begin this new age.

“I encourage everyone to get involved to celebrate the coronation of Their Majesties the King and the Queen Consort.”

Meaden said: “I know a good idea when I see it and the Big Help Out is one. That’s why everyone is joining in.

Charities, businesses and now the public can get involved too,” she added.

Winter, who is a volunteer with Guide Dogs, said: “It’s so rewarding being a fosterer for Guide Dogs and knowing that you’re helping each dog on their journey to support someone living with sight loss.

“It’s a fantastic cause and I would recommend volunteering to anyone who is able to donate some of their time.”

Musicals star and Radio 2 presenter Elaine Paige, an ambassador for the Royal Voluntary Service, said: “No matter what your level of skills or experience, everyone can have a positive impact through volunteering.

“I have seen it first-hand through my work with Royal Voluntary Service, not only can you make a real difference in your community, but volunteering does the world of good to the volunteers too.”

Buckingham Palace said the day “will encourage people to try volunteering for themselves and join the work being undertaken to support their local areas”.

Its aim is to use volunteering to bring communities together and create a lasting volunteering legacy from the coronation weekend.

Fresh from their appearance at the coronation concert, the Prince and the Princess of Wales will be at a Scout hut in Berkshire, while Princess Anne is at an event in Gloucestershire.

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh will help train puppies at a guide dog centre, while the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester will meet volunteers at a London street party.

Politicians from the main parties are also getting involved. The prime minister and his wife are helping at a lunch club, Labour leader Keir Starmer is answering calls for the NHS volunteer responders programme, and Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf is at a community larder.

However, after a busy few days in the spotlight, Buckingham Palace said the King and Queen will not be taking part but are “wholly supportive” of the volunteering event.

Learn more at the initiative’s website

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