Have you heard of The Big Help Out? It’s a national drive encouraging people to volunteer to mark the King’s Coronation, specifically on the additional Bank Holiday on 8th May. We at Lancaster District CVS are 100% behind anything that encourages volunteering, but it has been disappointing to see that The Big Help Out has received something of a backlash, particularly on social media.
Volunteers and volunteering should always be valued. Volunteers are the life blood of our communities, the glue of our social fabric. Not convinced? I guarantee you that some aspect of your life, and the lives of everyone you know, is impacted for the better by volunteers.
You will find volunteers in our NHS, in our city and county councils, taking care of our environment, maintaining our public spaces, supporting our young people in schools, running uniformed groups such as scouts and guides, helping people access sport through amateur teams and clubs, the list goes on and on. Volunteers are everywhere and their work is invaluable. People give their time, energy, and skills to make a difference to the lives of others. Often this is done without recognition and sometimes even without thanks.
The Big Help Out is a spotlight on volunteers and volunteering, a chance to celebrate on a national stage the everyday heroes who improve lives through selfless dedication, and at the same time encouraging others to do something to make a difference. Unfortunately some people haven’t taken it that way and instead have used it as an opportunity to attack the monarchy, using language that has the potential to divide us. It has been particularly sad to see people dismissing the mere idea of volunteering as being weak or subservient.
You don’t have to be a royalist to be able to recognise the value in supporting your community, even if the catalyst is the coronation of a new king. People across the political and social spectrum have an infinite number of reasons for doing the volunteer work that they do, and all of them should be supported and thanked for that work.
So whatever your reasons, we will always welcome new volunteers, and we will always be thankful for existing ones. This May we will be recognizing and celebrating our own, local, volunteer royalty!