Millions of people take part in second Big Help Out, organisers say

Charity

Millions of people took part in the Big Help Out over the weekend, organisers have said.

Final figures for the second iteration of the volunteering event, which was held from Friday to Sunday, are not expected to be available until next week but more than 35,000 charities registered opportunities to take part this year. 

The first Big Help Out was held on the extra bank holiday to mark the King’s coronation last year, when an estimated 7.2 million people took up volunteering opportunities across the UK. 

This year’s event, which coincided with the end of Volunteers’ Week, included a working Friday for the first time in the hope that more businesses and schools would participate. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and the TV presenters Rachel Riley and Anneka Rice were among the famous faces that took part in this year’s Big Help Out. 

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive of the Royal Voluntary Service and co-founder of the Big Help Out, said: “The Big Help Out was created to enable anyone from any community to find a volunteering opportunity that inspires them to ‘have a go’. 

“It’s thrilling to see so many different charities and groups across the UK sparking such high levels of interest in volunteering. 

“For many people it’s also the start of a longer-term volunteering habit which will enrich their lives for years to come.”

Matt Hyde, chief executive of the Scouts, said the event was a “a powerful reminder of how volunteering does and can bring people together”, and that “events like these not only bring people together but are needed to help to spark the passion for service and community spirit we have inside all of us. 

“I hope to see The Big Help Out return in 2025.

The event is backed by 30 major volunteering charities who are part of the Shaping the Future with Volunteering Group, including Age UK, Cats Protection, the National Trust, the RNLI and the RSPCA.

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