Volunteers’ Week 2021 takes place from 1-7 June this year, with charities around the UK encouraged to take the time to say thank you to all volunteers.
Volunteers’ Week is an annual campaign, entering its 37th year, which sees charities, voluntary groups, social organisations, and volunteers themselves come together to recognise the impact that volunteering has in UK communities. It is led in partnership by NCVO, WCVA, Volunteer Scotland, and Volunteer Now.
This year’s theme is ‘A time to say thanks’ – recognising that during an exceptionally difficult year due to the coronavirus pandemic, people from all walks of life around the UK have taken the time to volunteer and made a huge difference to people and their communities every day – just as they do every year.
Each day of Volunteers’ Week 2021 will focus on a different theme of volunteering. This will include themes such as youth volunteering, employer supported volunteering and environmental volunteering.
Every year hundreds of events, both online and in-person, take place to celebrate Volunteers’ Week and this year a wide variety of activities will be happening across the country including The Big Lunch: an opportunity for volunteers to come together online, at their doorstep, or in a park, guidelines permitting, to celebrate community connections and share volunteering experiences.
Nationally, volunteering contributed an estimated £18.2 billion – or almost 1% of GDP – to the UK economy, in 2017-18.
Sarah Vibert, interim chief executive at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), which coordinates Volunteers’ Week in England, said:
“Volunteers’ Week is about recognising all of those who have continued delivering vital work as volunteers over the past 12 months, acknowledging the huge number of first-time volunteers in communities around the country, and also saying thank you to all those who usually volunteer but have not been able to because of the pandemic.
“Volunteers are always working at the heart of every UK community. It is hard to overstate the incredible impact they have made during an incredibly challenging year. The pandemic has rightly raised the profile of volunteering and more people than ever are aware of the immense contribution being made every single day by the amazing volunteers across the UK. We must ensure this recognition continues. That is why, on this 37th annual Volunteers’ Week, it’s time to say: thank you volunteers!”
Denise Hayward, chief executive at Volunteer Now, which coordinates Volunteers’ Week in Northern Ireland, commented:
“Volunteers Week 2021 is a great opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ to all of those existing and new volunteers who have supported the Covid response throughout the year. We also want to thank all of those volunteers who are patiently waiting to get back to their face-to-face roles and those who have stopped and started throughout the year in line with the government guidance. As we move through the recovery plan, I hope that we will all be able to safely embrace volunteering within the new environment to continue to support people and the causes we care about.”