It’s Volunteers’ Week – What it is and why celebrate
Have you done any voluntary work in the past year? Anything from getting groceries for people in quarantine, or mending signage on hiking trails, to voluntary work in schools, you name it. If you have, the UK is dedicating this week—the National Volunteers’ Week— to saying “thank you” to you, and here is why.
Volunteers’ Week 2021
Coordinated by the NCVO, the UK’s 37th Volunteers’ Week is taking place this week on 1-7 June. This is a time when people and organisations are encouraged to say thank you to all volunteers, whose contribution has been indispensible to our communities. This is particularly important this year, as people from all walks of life have continued to deliver vital voluntary services over the past 12 months despite the challenges of COVID restrictions.
To give volunteers a big cheer for their extraordinary work, hundreds of activities are held by volunteer organisations. From small grassroots bodies, to larger household-name charities, this week organisations are showcasing and celebrating volunteers and their contribution to our communities. Each day of the week is dedicated to celebrating a central theme:
Tuesday 1 June: Volunteers’ Week launch—A time to say thanks
Share your own story about volunteering during a pandemic over the past 12 months, inspire others to get involved, or say thank you to an amazing volunteer you know using #VolunteersWeek!
Wednesday 2 June: The power of youth
Focus on the role of youth volunteering in the daily lives of individuals and communities, not only as leaders of tomorrow, but leading change now in communities all over the country.
Thursday 3 June: Employer-supported and skilled volunteering
Recognise the continued contributions of skilled and employer-supported volunteers by showcasing their impact around the UK.
Friday 4 June: Home Nation’s Day
Today, the UK’s national bodies and partners are celebrating a theme relevant to their local community.
Saturday 5 June: Environment and conservation
Recognise the impact of volunteering on environmental and conservation initiatives and call for urgent action to protect the planet. Today also happens to be World Environment Day!
Sunday 6 June: The Big Lunch!
Get together with your neighbours and communities, guidelines permitting, to celebrate connections, show appreciation and share experience in volunteering.
Monday 7 June: Volunteers’ Week comes to a close – It’s time to say thanks
Share your pictures of your #VolunteersWeek and celebrate volunteering in all its diversity.
In numbers: The impact of voluntary service in the UK
By donating their time, knowledge and effort, whether in person or online from home, volunteers make a huge impact to both the society and the economy. This was particularly significant during the COVID crisis, as charities tried their best to stay active and people showed extraordinary solidarity and a stronger-than-ever desire to help those in need—all the more reason to celebrate Volunteers’ Week this year!
- 19.4 million people (36%) volunteered through a group at least once a year in 2018/19 and 11.9 million (22%) volunteered at least once a month.
- 10 million people across the UK volunteered in their communities during the first two months of lockdown in 2020; 78% planned to continue doing so.
- During the first two months of lockdown, the work these volunteers did has an equivalent economic value of more than £357 million each week, with each individual contributing on average three hours of their time.
- In 2019/20, approximately 163,000 voluntary organisations were operating in the UK, most of which rely on volunteers.
- In 2017/18, the voluntary sector contributed £18.2 billion to the UK economy, representing about 0.9% of GDP.
- The voluntary sector employed 910,000 people in the UK in June 2019, equivalent to 2.8% of the UK workforce.
Become a volunteer
Here at 1HOUR, we are celebrating the Volunteers’ Week by launching our new volunteering app, which allows you to browse available one-hour online teaching opportunities and sign up for sessions and subjects of your choice. Join us and become a volunteer today!