Volunteers' Week: An introduction

Volunteers' Week, which begins on June 1st, celebrates the work and dedication of the millions of people who give up their time to help others.

Volunteers are central to the work of countless charities and other organisations in Wiltshire. They are a valuable presence in many communities across the county, making a difference in places as diverse as sports clubs, libraries, schools and hospitals.

Hundreds of events will be taking place across the country to mark Volunteers' Week. The annual campaign, which was established in 1984, recognises the contribution volunteers make to our communities every day.

Charities across the UK will hold events to thank their volunteers and celebrate the power of volunteering to bring communities together. Last year more than 900 events took place, from awards ceremonies to tea parties and barbecues.

For many charities the week will also be a chance to showcase the range of volunteering opportunities on offer. Volunteer fairs and other events will encourage people to try volunteering for the first time and help people find out how through volunteering they can make a difference to a cause they are passionate about.

Volunteering facts

  • In 2015, volunteering output contributed an estimated £22.6bn to the UK economy. This is equivalent to approximately 1.2 per cent of GDP.
  • In 2016/17, 19.8 million (37 per cent) people in the UK volunteered formally at least once a year and 11.9 million (22 per cent) of people did so at least once a month.
  • There are 165,801 voluntary organisations in the UK, many of whom rely on volunteers.
  • Lots of volunteering also takes place within the public and private sector. For example, there are an estimated 3 million people volunteering in health and care.

Wiltshire Community Foundation chief executive Rosemary Macdonald is a supporter of Volunteers Week. She said: “We work with hundreds of groups across Swindon and Wiltshire and almost all of them would not be able to achieve half of what they do without the dedication and effort of their volunteers. These unsung heroes give so much to their communities and the only reward they get is the satisfaction of helping other people or making the place they live in a little better. We should all be grateful for what they do.

“I’m so glad this week gives us an opportunity to reflect on their contribution and celebrate the difference they make. I hope that by reading their stories that many more people will be inspired to join them in giving something back.”

Throughout the week we’ll be featuring volunteers from some of those hundreds of groups we support.

To find out more about volunteering call us on 01380 729284 or go to Wiltshire Council’s volunteering page to see what you can do.

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