Activism

What you need to know about The Big Help Out: The volunteering extravaganza marking Charles’s coronation

Brits are being encouraged to get into volunteering for King Charles' coronation with The Big Help Out. Here's what you need to know

King Charles with a food bank volunteer in Milton Keynes, The Big Help Out

King Charles III meets with volunteers of St Mark's charity during his visit to Milton Keynes food bank. Image: Molly Darlington/WPA Pool/Shutterstock

The coronation of King Charles won’t just bring quiche and an extra bank holiday. As part of attempts to make the landmark day have a lasting legacy, groups hope it will be a chance to kickstart volunteering for a new generation. To that end, The Big Help Out is launching.

It’s an opportunity to help a good cause and take part in your community. But the reasons behind its launch also tell a story.

Here’s what you need to know about The Big Help Out – and how you can get involved.

What is the Big Coronation Help out?

Organised by Together Coalition and developed by Scouts and Royal Voluntary Service, The Big Help Out is billed as an extravaganza of volunteering – with opportunities ranging from an hour to a day.

The motto is “Lend a hand. Make a change”, and the scheme comes with a vision of inspiring a new generation of volunteers. That, its organisers hope, will be a lasting legacy of the coronation.

While the King himself is not a volunteer – the sovereign grant gave his family £86.3 million in 2022 – as Prince of Wales he supported scores of charities.

Formal volunteering is in decline, thanks to the pandemic. Older volunteer numbers have fallen sharply, say the Big Help Out’s organisers, and so a new approach is needed to attract a new generation of volunteers.

Overall, participation in formal volunteering has been in a long-term decline. From a high of 45 per cent in 2013/14, just 27 per cent of people in 2021/22 said they had formally volunteered in the past year.

Yet more recent data shows a small rebound in volunteering among older people, while the proportion of younger people dropped from 2020/21 to 2021/22. Those aged 25 to 34 were the least likely of any age group to volunteer.

Chief Scout – and erstwhile Big Issue cover star – Bear Grylls said: “Volunteering has always been a huge part of what makes this country great. 

“The Big Help Out will put volunteering centre stage for a day and give people who want to volunteer easy ways to join in.”

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How can I get involved in The Big Help Out?

In a bid to appeal to the younger generation, The Big Help Out’s big selling point is that all its opportunities are collected in one place: an app.

It’s available on Apple’s App Store here, and on Google Play here.

But if you want to get involved in volunteering more generally, The Big Issue has put together a set of guides for everything you need to know to get started.

The RSPCA also has a new “Wildlife Friend” role created for the coronation and you can apply here.
If you’re at an organisation or business with volunteering opportunities, you can also register these and appear on the app. More details can be found here.

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