App will help volunteers find ways to contribute to coronation celebrations

Britons are being encouraged to take up hundreds of thousands of volunteering roles highlighted as part of coronation celebrations that aim to reflect the sector’s central role in the UK’s “national story”.

Love Island star Faye Winter and Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Deborah Meaden are among the celebrities promoting The Big Help Out, with more than 1,500 charities involved.

New opportunities offered to members of the public via the organisation’s app from Monday March 20 include options to help the elderly, the environment, support animal welfare and work within their local communities.

The initiative is a formal part of the King’s coronation, with people encouraged to either lend a helping hand on the May 8 bank holiday or arrange another opportunity to volunteer their time or skills.

King hosts Sudanese community
The King joins members of the Sudanese community at a reception in London (PA)

The Big Help Out app can be searched by postcode, the type of activity needed or the organisations involved.

The project aims to raise awareness of volunteering opportunities throughout the UK and was devised by leading charities, including the Scouts, the Royal Voluntary Service and Guide Dogs.

Organisers hope for an unprecedented community mobilisation to “underscore the central role volunteering plays in our national story” and to inspire a new generation of volunteers throughout Charles’s reign.

The minister for ceremonial events, including the coronation, Stuart Andrew, said: “The Big Help Out will shine a spotlight on the power of volunteering to help our communities. It is a tribute to His Majesty the King’s lifetime of public service and a wonderful way to begin this new age.

“I encourage everyone to get involved to celebrate the coronation of Their Majesties the King and the Queen Consort.”

Paralympian swimming gold medallist Ellie Simmonds, who is a volunteer and ambassador for the Scouts, said: “Volunteering is central to our national story – from families taking in refugees from Ukraine to volunteers running Scout groups and even just people looking in on a neighbour when times are tough.

“Today, we’re launching The Big Help Out app – it’s your one stop shop for hundreds of thousands of volunteering opportunities across the country.”

Meaden said: “I know a good idea when I see it and the Big Help Out is one. That’s why everyone is joining in.

“Charities, businesses and now the public can get involved too,” she added.

Winter, who is a volunteer with Guide Dogs, said: “It’s so rewarding being a fosterer for Guide Dogs and knowing that you’re helping each dog on their journey to support someone living with sight loss.

“It’s a fantastic cause and I would recommend volunteering to anyone who is able to donate some of their time.”

Musicals star and Radio 2 presenter Elaine Paige, an ambassador for the Royal Voluntary Service, said: “No matter what your level of skills or experience, everyone can have a positive impact through volunteering.

“I have seen it first-hand through my work with Royal Voluntary Service, not only can you make a real difference in your community, but volunteering does the world of good to the volunteers too.”

The coronation weekend will be held from Saturday May 6 to Monday May 8, with thousands of events expected to take place across the country.

The Monday will be a special bank holiday and has been set aside for volunteering in a tribute to the King’s lifetime of public service.

Buckingham Palace said the day “will encourage people to try volunteering for themselves and join the work being undertaken to support their local areas”.

Its aim is to use volunteering to bring communities together and create a lasting volunteering legacy from the coronation weekend.