Giving back to your local community

Councillor Ellie King, smiling.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Ellie King, Cabinet member for Public Health and Communities and Labour councillor for Hillfields ward.

Bristol residents never cease to amaze me with their dedication to helping others and making a difference to other people’s lives. I would like to start with a thank you to all of the unsung heroes who volunteer their time to support so many people and activities across our city.

There are lots of ways to give back to your local community, and volunteering is one of the most rewarding. Often the questions I get asked are about where to begin, how to support others, or even if it’s worth doing.

As we look forward to this year’s Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), I want to share my volunteering experience and why I recommend everyone gets involved.

My five reasons to volunteer:

  1. Make a difference – helping someone who needs it and giving back to the people in your local community is an incredibly rewarding experience
  2. Build new relationships – making new connections with people can be incredibly rewarding. You’ll get the chance to meet a variety of people from different backgrounds who you might not usually get the chance to speak to
  3. Expand your skill set – developing new skills is great for your personal and work life. Volunteering can help you add achievements you might need to your CV and increase your career opportunities
  4. Boost your confidence – doing something new or continuing to develop a skill you already have can increase your self-confidence.
  5. Great for your own wellbeing – it’s not selfish to say that doing something good makes you feel good. Supporting those around you or helping with the success of an event will bring a smile to your face and help you feel great!

How can you volunteer?

From Monday 8 May, to mark His Majesty The King’s Coronation, thousands of organisations across the country are getting together to help people give back to their local communities with The Big Help Out. No matter what you are good at, there will be something that will suit you. The idea is for people to spare as little as an hour or as much as a day. Even doing something small can make a big difference.

To find local volunteering opportunities, you can visit the Can Do Bristol website. You will find a range of options from volunteering at festivals, helping to train young sea cadets, supporting people with dementia, and lots more. You can sign up for regular volunteering slots or one-off events, and people looking for volunteers can also contact you directly. If you’re looking for volunteers to support your event or organisation you can also advertise for free on the Can Do Bristol website.

Marking Volunteers’ Week 2023

Two people are photographed holding hands.

I firstly want to say a huge thank you to anyone who already volunteers in Bristol, whether you do this through Can Do Bristol, with local community organisations or by just helping out friends or family.

We are once again working closely with Voscur and Black South West Network to give a big city thank you and put a spotlight on some of the amazing work Bristol’s volunteers have been doing. More details on this will be available closer to Volunteers’ Week.

As we have done for previous years, we are running our Wall of Thanks on the Can Do Bristol website where you can submit messages of thanks and appreciation to volunteers or community organisations that have helped you. You can submit these here: The Wall of Thanks 2023 – Can Do Bristol

If you are an organisation and you’ve received support from volunteers over the past year, as well as posting messages on the Wall of Thanks, you can visit the Volunteers’ Week website and find out how else you can say thank you.