Volunteers’ Week 2024

By Chloe Hall

Volunteers’ Week begins on Monday 3rd June. This actually marks the fortieth year, so the longstanding themed week has extra cause for celebrations.


Naturally enough, one ongoing aim of Volunteers’ Week is to acknowledge the time and efforts generously given by millions of volunteers across the UK to thousands of good causes. A second goal is to encourage and inspire more people from all walks of life to consider offering a little of their time to make a difference within their communities and beyond.

The Big Help Out

A landmark event which coincides with Volunteers’ Week is The Big Help Out. This year it falls over three days, 7th-9th June. Essentially it is an outreach programme designed to draw people together to contribute to their local communities. In 2023, approximately six million people actively supported charities or community initiatives over one weekend. This army of people included many who were new to volunteering. They were able to see first-hand just how rewarding giving their time could be. The success of last year’s event meant that millions of volunteers were connected or reconnected with organisations which rely upon voluntary assistance to carry out their work. A strong voluntary sector makes a big difference to potential outreach and impact on the local area and beyond. 

The link between volunteering and mental health 

Research by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) confirms that 73% of people who volunteer feel that they have greater self-confidence as a result. Naturally this has an important bearing on people’s mental well-being. Volunteering means that people readily interact more, and socialising is beneficial to everyone’s mental health. Therefore, volunteering is actually rather good for you. That in itself is a great incentive to get involved. 

In addition, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that volunteering helps to ease the effects of anxiety, stress and depression. This is partly because volunteering tends to involve a social aspect. Working alongside and for others can promote positive feelings of connection and purpose. These can make a big difference to everyone’s outlook. And it’s not just contact with other people that helps. Spending time with animals can be both stimulating, rewarding and certainly mood enhancing. 

Volunteering can definitely make people feel happier. Being helpful can leave them feeling better motivated and fulfilled. Many people enjoy giving their time and going to trouble for others. And if they take some pride joining in to help a good cause, that can leave them feeling positive. Part and parcel to this, personal confidence and self-esteem are important for good mental health. Moreover, joining in as a volunteer can be a welcome distraction from any personal worries or difficult times. 

Broader benefits for those who volunteer 

As well as making a difference to others, there are several further benefits and opportunities which arise from becoming a volunteer. For example, gaining insight into a new area of work; enjoying a social or cultural experience; being trained, however informally, in a new skill or role; working as a team member, both as a supporter and a contributor; applying your own knowledge and expertise to help an organisation; positively impacting on the ways things are done or managed, whether through making suggestions or through taking action; making new friends, and enjoying yourself. It goes without saying that for anybody who is considering changing their job, or looking for a pathway back into employment, volunteering can add an impressive dimension to a CV or application form. 

However, a named day like The Big Help Out is not simply about one occasion. While it’s certainly an opportunity for people to try something different, it’s also intended to be just a beginning. It is hoped that many people who join in will appreciate the mutual benefits of volunteering and aim to contribute more as the year goes by. 

There is a rich variety of choices

There are numerous opportunities in the voluntary sector and hopefully there’s something to suit everyone. For instance, it is always possible to volunteer your time to benefit your local community through animal welfare, health and social care, looking after older people or young people, supporting crisis and welfare initiatives, sports activities, arts events, cultural hubs, and looking after the environment. Of course, there are many more areas. The NHS is the country’s biggest employer and welcomes volunteers to contribute in a variety of practical ways. 

For younger aspiring volunteers, there will be many chances to help a good cause alongside an older sibling, parent or guardian, or at a school based event. 

Another practical example is litter picking. Most towns have a busy litter picking group. There are said to be over two thousand across the country. And it has been reported in the press that over eight million people do litter pick once or twice a year. So why might you enjoy litter picking? As well as the social aspect, you would be supporting the local council, taking some exercise, and restoring a little pride in the look of the area. 

Beyond this, there are countless other opportunities being organised across the country. Local media, businesses and community groups will have more information. 

Enjoy the opportunity 

So this June, if you are able to contribute a little time to a local good cause, don’t forget that the impact is likely to be mutually beneficial. And as Volunteers’ Week is intended to be open to everyone, it should be a genuinely inclusive chance to contribute to good causes, raise awareness, and reflect on what matters to ourselves and our local communities.  


Volunteer for HFEH Mind:


For information about Volunteers’ Week, please visit: 


For more information about volunteering, please visit: 


For advice and suggestions about volunteering through your local NHS hospital, please visit: 



There’s a lot of advice and help online for anyone who is finding things difficult. You could try looking at one or more of these sources of information:


HFEH Mind CYP Services

The Circle

Young Minds

NHS – Every Mind Matters

If you live in Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing or Hounslow then join our Physical and Mental Health Focus Group and help shape the future of mental health.

Posted on: 3rd June 2024

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