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How to volunteer as part of The Big Help Out 2023

Big Help Out Logo

In honour of His Majesty The King’s decades of public service, The Big Help Out starts from Monday 8 May.

The initiative, which forms part of The King and Queen’s Coronation weekend, asks people across the UK to spare some time and lend a hand. It aims to raise awareness of volunteering and provide opportunities for people to make a difference in their communities.

So, whether you can spare an hour or a day, here’s our guide to how to take part and lend your hand around Chelmsford, whatever your skill set.

Volunteer with Chelmsford’s Parks team

If you love the great outdoors and you’re looking for a way to support Chelmsford’s wildlife, sign up to get involved with your local parks and nature reserves.

The Parks team have volunteer sessions running 44 weeks of the year. These include seasonal projects on Thursdays 10am–1pm, working on projects such as pond restoration and orchard management. Sessions also take place two Saturdays per month at Marconi Ponds, Admirals Park, and Chelmer Valley.

You don’t need to make a regular commitment to projects. Just sign up and take part when you have available time to offer. You don’t require any experience, just appropriate, all-weather clothes and stout footwear. Little ones can also take part with adult supervision.

Volunteers working on Bell Meadow garden
Photograph by Paul Starr

You’ll be given a choice of tasks and everything you’ll need will be provided with full instructions. You’ll even get to enjoy a hot drink and biscuits and a chance to chat to other like-minded volunteers.

“It’s a great feeling at the end of the day when you look back at your work and see what you have achieved as a group.”

Trish, Parks Volunteer

Find out more and sign up on the Love Your Chelmsford website.

Keep Chelmsford clean and take part in litter picking

Did you know the less litter there is in an area, the less likely it is for others to litter?

Keeping our environment clean is a community effort which we’re all responsible for. Though our Street Care team works 365 days a year to sweep streets, pick up fly-tips and remove graffiti, the job of keeping Chelmsford clean never ends.

You can help with this effort by volunteering some time to litter pick in your local area. Anyone of any age can take part and you can litter pick at any time that suits you. Complete kits of litter picking equipment are available to borrow from Love Your Chelmsford – including children’s kits. The kits can be hired for free from Freighter House, Springfield, CM2 5PH for up to 14 days. Find out more on the Love Your Chelmsford website.

Make a difference at Broomfield Hospital

The Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust has a wide range of volunteer roles available at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford. By volunteering at the hospital, you’ll make a real difference to the lives of patients, their loved ones, and to hardworking NHS staff. 

Roles include helping in wards, at mealtimes, in the gardens, at help desks, at the breast clinic, on chemotherapy wards, and in physical therapy. Browse available roles online.

Walk some adorable fluffy dogs

The Cinnamon Trust is the only specialist national charity for the terminally ill and people in their later years and their much loved, much needed companion animals.

They work to keep pets and their elderly owners together by walking their dogs, fostering pets when owners need hospital care and helping with fetching pet supplies and even cleaning out bird cages.

If you have a passion for animals, this could be the perfect role for you. The charity is seeking volunteer dog walkers in Springfield and Writtle who would love to go for a good walk. Find out more and apply online.

Corgi being walked

Become a Trustee

If you’re short of time, why not consider becoming a trustee?

Trustees play a crucial role in guiding charities, helping make plans and decisions, and making sure they stay on track.

A trustee role offers a fantastic opportunity to make real difference to the organisation you volunteer for. You don’t need prior experience, just enthusiasm and dedication.

“Being a CCM trustee is easily the most rewarding activity I have ever undertaken”

Anthony North, Trustee for City of Chelmsford Mencap

Trustee meetings are usually just four times a year, so this is a great role for people with busy lives who still want to help.

To find Trustee opportunities near you please contact Chelmsford CVS and ask to make an appointment.

Contribute to Chelmsford’s ‘cultural living room’

Are you passionate about arts and culture?

Culture Chelmsford and partners have together transformed an empty shop in The Meadows shopping centre into a warm, buzzing, and artistic space for vulnerable people and families in our district.

Number 11, The Meadows

The project is seeking volunteers between now and 27 May. You’ll welcome people, help run varied cultural activities and make and serve hot drinks, toast, and cake to visitors.

If you’d like to support this brilliant project or if you have a special skill or craft that you’d like to share as part of it, please contact the team via Volunteer Essex.

Be part of The Welfare Crew at summer festivals

The Welfare Crew are seeking volunteers to help at various summer festivals across the UK including Creamfields in Chelmsford. Volunteers give comfort, reassurance, advice and simple practical help for festival-goers who are overwhelmed, vulnerable, or unwell.

To take on this role you need to be over 18; non-judgmental and understanding; able to chat to people; willing to learn and be part of a team; willing to have a DBS check. Read more about this role and how you can volunteer.

Become a driver for Chelmsford Community Transport

Chelmsford Community Transport needs friendly and patient volunteers to drive vulnerable people to social clubs, shops, and medical appointments. Interesting conversation is guaranteed with this role!

You can volunteer a set day each week or choose to be on stand-by and help with ad-hoc journeys. You’ll drive your own car and mileage costs will be reimbursed by the charity. Find out more and apply online.

Share your passion for Chelmsford’s history

Can you help bring history to life?

You could join Chelmsford Museum’s growing team of friendly, enthusiastic volunteers and help make the museum a safe, fun, educational experience for visitors of all ages.

Responsibilities include meeting and greeting, leading tours, welcoming people to the galleries, helping visitors understand the collections, and stewarding temporary exhibitions. Find out more and apply on the museum’s website.

Chelmsford Museum Exterior

Make a Big Promise instead!

If you can’t join The Big Help Out, why not make a Big Promise? 

Volunteering isn’t reserved for one special day. Many charities across Chelmsford require volunteers throughout the year. So, why not use 8 May as a day to get inspired? Make a resolution to help out in your community in the future – even if you don’t yet know what that could be. 

The best way to get informed and connected, is to contact Chelmsford CVS and ask to make an appointment.

Chelmsford CVS have hundreds of local opportunities for you to make a difference, and they’ll help you to find one that fits. At your appointment they will have a one-to-one chat with you about your interests, abilities, and time-commitments, and help you find a role that’s absolutely perfect for you.

You can contact Chelmsford CVS at volunteer@chelmsfordcvs.org.uk or call them on 01245 351888. A selection of local opportunities can be found on their website.

You can also browse opportunities in your area on The Big Help Out app, available on AppStore and Google Play.

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Cherelle Nightingill
Cherelle Nightingill

Cherelle writes about Chelmsford Theatre, Hylands Estate, Chelmsford Museum, the Mayor of Chelmsford and culture and events in the city.