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5 ways to give back this Volunteers' Week

Volunteers clearing the banks of the River Thames

We know that so many of you live out our ethos of service to society by giving your time and talents to support others. This Volunteers’ Week (1 – 7 June) we want to celebrate you!

Whether you have contributed to the NHS response to the pandemic through your placement or have been supporting loved ones or people in your local community – thank you.

If you’re keen to get started with volunteering, we’ve picked five ways you can make a difference through King’s Volunteering and KCLSU Volunteering.

Don’t know where to start?

Sign up for a workshop to find out how to get involved with volunteering and hear from other students about what they do.

1. Get involved in London

Volunteering is a great way to feel part of our local communities and get to know our neighbouring boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster.

For example, by volunteering with Central Southwark Community Hub, you’ll be helping to tackle food insecurity in the capital. You could help in the foodbank, deliver food packages or even bake cakes for clients. 

If you love getting creative, Resonate Arts pair volunteers with Westminster residents who are living with dementia. You’ll enjoy time together through art projects, either at home or at museums and galleries.

Remember that the main priority when volunteering during COVID-19 should be to keep yourself and others safe. Before volunteering you should read the government guidelines and information from the organisation you are volunteering with.

strand open day central london directons bus

2. Get involved online wherever you are

Many organisations offer remote volunteering or have moved their activities online. If you are elsewhere in the UK, your local Volunteer Centre can help you find nearby opportunities too.

IntoUniversity supports young people to go to university or achieve their chosen aspiration. They are looking for students to support 10–17-year-olds, both online and in learning centres across the UK. You could mentor a young person, support them with academic work or share your experience of university. Read King’s student Charlotte’s experience of online mentoring with IntoUniversity.

Just Like Us are on the look out for LGBT+ Ambassadors to improve the lives of LGBT+ young people who are struggling at school. As a volunteer you would co-deliver secondary school talks online or in-person and create resources on equality and allyship.

If you’re keen to share your skills, Teach for Better is a platform to match volunteers and their skills with community organisations in central London. And it was founded by a King’s alumni!

3. Go green

Did you know that we have our own community garden on Guy’s Campus?

Oliver Austen, a senior technical officer in the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, has repurposed a neglected area on campus into garden that students, staff and alumni can look after. There are jobs for everyone, from sowing seeds through to harvesting the produce and, of course, making tea. Email to join.

You can also drop in to community gardening sessions across London with Brighten up London, getting involved with everything from bees to trees!

For more sustainability opportunities at King’s, sign up for the Sustainability team newsletter.

A pot of soil with the word cumin and a smiley face drawn on it

4. Connect with others

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of social connection for our health and wellbeing. Spending time talking to an isolated person each week can make a real difference, to their wellbeing and to yours.

Time & Talents connects people in Southwark with a local befriender. You would meet a local resident for an outdoor activity, supporting them to get active and feel connected to the community.

One Westminster runs a Wellbeing Chat Service, offering older, isolated or shielding people a regular 30-minute call from a volunteer.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) also need volunteers to run their weekly telephone social groups for blind and partially sighted people.

5. Activism, activated

Campaigning for a cause you feel passionately about is a way of volunteering!

Through our partnership with Citizens UK, we are running free introductory courses to community organising this summer as part of King’s Edge. Sign up to learn the skills you need to become a more effective community leader and help make positive change.

Student group King’sForChange organise students for social change within and outside the university. They need campaigning, communications and community engagement volunteers to join their Fair Energy Campaign to empower people to switch to cheaper, fairer and greener energy suppliers.