Sunday, 3 March 2024
Sunday, 3 March 2024

Charities to connect with new volunteers at coronation weekend event in city centre

CHARITIES are hoping a drive to encourage volunteering over the King’s Coronation weekend on May 6 to 8 will inspire more people to give up their time for their communities in Wiltshire.

Wessex Community Action, which supports charities across the county, is calling for groups and individuals to support King Charles III’s The Big Help Out, which he wants to be a springboard for people to come forward and support groups in their area.

The charity is supporting Salisbury City Council in the organisation of a Festival of Giving and Volunteering on Monday, May 8 in the Guildhall Square from noon to 4pm. The city’s Foodie Forum, comprising the Salisbury Pantry, Salisbury Foodbank and Bemerton Community Fridge, will come together to collect and sort food donations, meet anyone interested in volunteering and showcase their services.

Other food organisations from the forum, including The Pantry Partnership, The F3 Project and the Harnham Table, will also be taking part.

The council’s communities manager Sarah Gregson said she would be publicising what kind of food items the groups need before the day but said it would be dried and tinned food.

She said:

“People will be able to drive onto the square so they can unload easily. We want to show people the kind of work that is going on all the time to support people in food need but is not necessarily visible.”

She is hoping other community groups will take a stand in a marquee at the event to publicise what they do and connect with people interested in volunteering.

She continued:

“We are working with these organisations to bring an activity or taste of what they do to the event and to publicise the ways in which people can volunteer and make a difference. Our aim is to celebrate and grow volunteering in the city.”

Wessex Community Action has launched a King’s Coronation page on its online community platform Wiltshire Together, which lists ways people can get involved in The Big Help Out.

Volunteer and community development worker Sarah Pickering said:

“The coronation weekend is a wonderful chance for the whole Wiltshire community to come together to celebrate so we have launched this page to be a central hub for all things community-related regarding the coronation.

“Volunteering and supporting charities and community groups is going to be right at the forefront of the national conversation for these few days so it is a golden opportunity to promote the work our amazing voluntary sector does and connect with people who will be inspired to help.”

The page, at wiltshiretogether.org, is aimed at charities and voluntary groups, as well as people looking for ways to give back.

Ms Pickering added:

“If organisations are thinking about doing something for the coronation, but don’t know where to start, or have something planned and would like some help to promote it and are looking for volunteers then they can list their activity on the page.

“If they are thinking of offering taster volunteer opportunities for The Big Help Out to help with longer-term recruitment the campaign page is ideal.”

She said that posting activities, events, and volunteering tasters, it will build a picture of how the weekend is being celebrated.

She said:

“It also gives people the chance to volunteer, which they might not have considered it before. By getting involved, voluntary groups and charities can promote their services and attract volunteers to have a taste of what volunteering for an organisation would be like.”

Salisbury Mayor Tom Corbin is backing the festival and encouraging community groups to have a stand in a marquee at the event.

Cllr Corbin said:

“We are working with these organisations to bring an activity or taste of what they do to the event and to publicise the ways in which people can volunteer and make a difference. Our aim is to celebrate and grow volunteering in the city.”

Wiltshire Together, hosted by Wessex Community Action, is a free and easy-to-use community platform for voluntary groups, charities and people in the community to advertise community events and activities or search for volunteering vacancies.

Log on to the King’s Coronation page at wiltshiretogether.org.uk/campaign/kings-coronation. To find out more about the coronation weekend Giving and Volunteering Festival, volunteer on the day or book a stand, contact Sarah Gregson on 01225 417100 or email bhc@salisburycitycouncil.gov.uk with the subject line Celebrate Volunteering.

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