Volunteers across the UK are being thanked for their efforts as part of a range of events to mark Volunteers’ Week 2015 which runs from 1 to 7 June.
Charities, community groups and other organisations are holding events to thank their volunteers for the contribution they make. Events will include awards ceremonies, barbecues, roadshows and tea parties. Last year almost 500 events were held across the country.
The annual campaign, established in 1984, seeks to recognise the contribution millions of volunteers make to our communities every week and showcase opportunities available for people to get involved. This year, for the first time, volunteers are encouraged to share their stories and experiences on social media using the hashtag #ivolunteer, to raise awareness and encourage others to participate.
More than 15m people volunteer in the UK every month. They lend their time and talents to causes as varied as food banks, libraries and hospitals. The UK Civil Society Almanac, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) data base, shows that between 2012 and 2013 volunteering contributed an estimated £23.9bn to the UK economy, equivalent to 1.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.
Justin Davis Smith, executive director of volunteering and development at NCVO, coordinators of Volunteers’ Week in England, said:
‘Volunteers’ Week is the perfect opportunity to recognise volunteers who give their time, energy and enthusiasm to helping others. This week of events across the country will show people how much the contribution of volunteers is valued.
‘Last year saw the 30 year anniversary of Volunteers’ Week celebrations. It highlighted how rich our history of social action really is. No one is better at talking about the contribution of volunteers than volunteers themselves. This year we are asking people to talk about the causes they care about, share motivations for volunteering, and encourage others to think about getting involved by using the hashtag #ivolunteer.
‘Volunteering is a way to give something back. It is also an opportunity for volunteers to benefit from new experiences, make friends, gain skills and have fun. There has been a rise in recent years in flexible volunteering, so that even people without the time to commit to a regular activity can get involved.
‘We hope that this Volunteers’ Week you will join us in saying thank you to everyone who volunteers.’