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Amy Dowden supports volunteer drive in Wales for The Big Help Out

DANCER and TV personality Amy Dowden is leading The Big Help Out in Wales – Britain’s biggest volunteering opportunity.

More than 6 million people are expected to take part in the nationwide effort that aims to inspire communities across Wales and the rest of the UK to lend a hand this weekend by having a go at volunteering activities. 

Amy Dowden said: “As someone who has personally experienced the support of incredible volunteers, especially through my own cancer journey, I can’t emphasise enough how vital volunteering is.

“Charities like Macmillan Cancer Support, Young Lives Vs Cancer, Breast Cancer Now, and the Royal Voluntary Service rely on volunteers to make a real difference in people’s lives.

“Volunteering not only helps others but also brings immense pride and benefits to the volunteers themselves.

“With The Big Help Out starting tomorrow, there are now more than a million opportunities to volunteer available through the app alone, with thousands in Wales.

“I’d encourage everyone in Wales and across the rest of the UK to find a cause close to their heart and lend a hand this weekend. There’s still time!”

The Big Help Out starts tomorrow on Friday, June 7, and runs until the end of Sunday, June 9.

The Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) said: “WCVA is pleased to see The Big Help Out enabling organisations in Wales to reach new audiences and volunteers.

“Volunteers are a vital part of the Welsh voluntary sector, and we welcome the spotlight The Big Help Out campaign shines on all the ways in which anyone can get involved and support voluntary organisations and their communities.”

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Cherry Jones, a Royal Voluntary Service volunteer at the Brecon Memory Lane Café in Powys, said: “I think the reason why the dementia support café that I volunteer at has been so successful is because of both the support and stimulation we provide to people living with dementia, and the respite that we offer their carers.

“It’s so rewarding to offer both groups a place where they can be happy and valued. I really enjoy it and I think I get as much out of it as they do.”

Dave Wall, a Community Transport volunteer with the Royal Voluntary Service’s Memory Lane Wales service, also highlighted the personal rewards of volunteering, saying: “After retiring I had more time on my hands and had the desire to help others.

“I spoke to my wife, who has now unfortunately passed, about it and decided to take up volunteering. It’s been a great experience and I’m so glad I decided to do it. Everyone is always so appreciative and kind which makes it all worthwhile.”

The Big Help Out is led by /together, a coalition working to build kinder, closer and more connected communities.

It is being run in partnership with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, and Shaping the Future with Volunteering, a coalition of 30 leading charities chaired by The Scouts and the Royal Voluntary Service.

The Big Help Out is funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, with support from official partners ASDA, Compare the Market, and DPD.

The campaign is central to a volunteering fight back as the sector recovers from the terrible impact of Covid, which broke the habit of volunteering for huge numbers all across the country. Figures from the latest NCVO time well spent report reveal volunteering remains 30 per cent lower than it was before the pandemic.

Events already planned in Wales for the weekend include:

  • Age UK is holding shop volunteering open days throughout the weekend in Mold, Bangor, Porthcawl, Pontypridd, Swansea, Neath and Barry. People will have a chance to help serve customers, sort stock and make window displays as well as learning about the role of volunteers in local communities. 
  • Sandy Bear, a charity in Haverfordwest supporting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing – is hosting a family fun day, with a chance to help out with activities for children. 
  • The Brymbo Heritage Site in Wrexham is hosting hands on volunteering opportunities during The Big Help Out weekend to maintain its historic industrial heritage site and help out in the community garden.

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