3 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer

— Katie Appleby, WE 

On the 14th June 2017, disaster struck Grenfell Tower, a block of flats in North Kensington, London. Millions across the UK and around the world watched helplessly as flames engulfed the tower and the emergency services tried to rescue people, put out the fire and stabilise the building.

The event dominated headlines, daily conversations and social media feeds for weeks and is still talked about as investigations continue and victims’ identities are gradually revealed.

Whether an event of this magnitude happens in your country, in your city, on your street – or the other side of the world – the feeling of helplessness as someone not directly involved, but wanting to help, is common. But then we get distracted, or decide it’s a bit too much effort to Google search how we can help, so we say we’ll do it later…

The good news is that there are opportunities to help in situations like this, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Money donations are (obviously) massively appreciated by emergency funds, charities and those that the money directly supports, but even if you’re not in a position to offer support financially, you can help.

How? You can volunteer. At WE Communications, we are lucky enough to have designated hours each year to dedicate to volunteering, as well as an annual agency-wide day to volunteer together.

This year, an opportunity landed in our inboxes. The British Red Cross desperately need help in their efforts to sort through the clothes, bags, shoes and toys that have been donated to the survivors of Grenfell Tower. This may sound simple, but with tens of thousands of boxes – and another 18 lorries full, which were discovered later – to sort through, many hands make light work.

Over a couple of days, a handful of WE employees turned up to their shift at the warehouse and swapped sitting down for eight hours at a desk for some good old fashioned manual labour. And it was great!

Yes, you can feel good about yourself for giving something back, but you can also see progress being made and better understand how charities work (and the logistical nightmares they have to deal with on a daily basis!)

So why should you volunteer?

  1. There is something you can do – even if your employer doesn’t offer volunteering as a given, you can volunteer for one day, as a one off, on a weekend and still make a difference.
  2. Opportunities won’t always land on your doorstep/inbox, so proactively search for them and you might be surprised by what you find.
  3. If you say yes to volunteering (time, money, skills) – you might meet HRH Prince Harry*.

*This isn’t guaranteed, but two WE UK employees did actually casually meet and speak to Prince Harry himself when he made a surprise visit to the British Red Cross warehouse. No paps, please.

The British Red Cross are still looking for emergency response volunteers this month (August, 2017). Find out how you can get involved here.