How to volunteer with just five minutes to spare

Claire Mechie

This Volunteers’ Week, Clan Cancer Support is joining thousands of organisations and taking part in The Big Help Out.

Established last year following King Charles III’s coronation, The Big Help Out aims to raise awareness of volunteering throughout the UK and provide opportunities for people to make a difference in their communities.

The initiative neatly segues with Volunteers’ Week which, like Clan, this year celebrates its 40th anniversary. It’s highly possible you’ll see a lot of Volunteering content on the social feeds of charities this week with some of them having a specific activity or ‘ask’ lined up for this weekend.

The Big Help Out concept was borne out of the sharp decline in volunteer numbers following the pandemic, with the objective of reacquainting the nation with the act of giving their time freely and for the greater good.

It worked. Last year’s inaugural bank holiday event saw 7 million people take part in volunteering activities across the UK with many choosing mass events like litter picks and beach cleans.

As a volunteer manager I celebrate all these activities and am pleased to see volunteering and the clear benefits it can bring to communities being celebrated in such a public manner. However, it’s also important to remember that volunteers don’t always have to commit huge chunks of time and get involved in lots of physical activities to be of use.

While these projects can be hugely beneficial to some organisations, many charities have extremely basic needs they require [KJ1] support with, those which could be fulfilled by participants around their own work commitments and busy family lives.

This year, as part of The Big Help Out, Clan is asking people to support us with our existing Part of the Clan campaign which celebrates our 40th anniversary. The campaign is a rallying call to individuals and businesses to help us achieve our £2m annual funding target, attract 100 new volunteers and engage more service users.

There are loads of ways you can take part, even if you have as little as five minutes to spare. And while the activities may not be as crowd-pleasing as a mass beach clean, the impact of your support is far-reaching and deeply felt.

The spreading of information about our charity can be done in just a few moments if individuals take the time to follow our social media accounts and share updates within their own networks. It may seem menial but getting our information in front of new audiences is a huge asset to us, especially given we have a heavily restricted marketing budget, and our advertising is limited to instances when we can find a sponsor to support the activity.

Those with slightly more time on their hands may prefer to sign up to take on a fundraising challenge with colleagues or friends, while businesses may consider coming on board as a charity partner either by giving a monthly corporate donation or agreeing sponsorship for an event.

Attracting more volunteers will remain a key objective of our activity throughout this week – as it is every week. We have a range of diverse and rewarding roles currently available to those looking to invest their time with us – either by supporting us at our events, in our centres providing listening support, in our shops, in our gardens or as a volunteer driver helping to provide our patient transport service.

No matter what time you can give or what skills you can bring, you can be an extremely valuable asset as a volunteer. And if you’ve often thought about investing your time with a local charity then this is the perfect week to get in touch with Clan to discuss our opportunities.

But if the traditional role of the volunteer isn’t for you, fear not. You can still help us out – it only takes five minutes.

For more information about Clan’s Part of the Clan campaign and all of Clan’s volunteering opportunities please visit:

By Claire Mechie, Clan Cancer Support’s Volunteer Manager

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