Our volunteers support us every single day. Every single day, we know that someone, somewhere, is organising a fundraising event, folding donated clothes in a shop or speaking at their local school on our behalf. In these ways, our volunteers support children in some of the toughest and hardest to reach corners of the world around the world – every single day.
This week is Volunteers’ Week, an annual event where the whole country comes together to celebrate the 23 million people who give their skills and time to great causes. At a time when our world – and our country – is divided on so many issues, Volunteers’ Week is a reminder of our shared values and shared humanity.
It is a powerful statement of the simple truth that Jo Cox, the MP who was murdered last year, expressed in her maiden speech to parliament. Whatever our differences, we have far more in common than that which divides us.
Save the Children was founded by volunteers Eglantyne Jebb and her sister Dorothy Buxton. Eglantyne and Dorothy, who were also humanitarians, fundraisers and human rights advocates, knew that we have more in common than not – and they set out to prove it with a vision to give every child the best start in life. Almost 100 years later, that vision continues to guide all of our work – and all of our volunteers.
What often strikes me is the extraordinary range of ways in which volunteers support us. Their knowledge adds to our expertise, their passion makes us stronger, and the skills and time they contribute help us save lives and rebuild futures.
We should never underestimate the dedication and talent it takes to organise a May Fair, or how many phone calls are needed to persuade an MP to take action on a specific policy. Volunteers connect us to local communities and give us a reach we simply couldn’t achieve without them.
Earlier this years I was lucky enough to meet some of our volunteers at a speaker training day. We have about 300 volunteer speakers who go into schools and businesses, or attend events to raise the profile of important work – and I was struck by the resourcefulness and imagination that helps them get our message out to their networks and communities.
It’s because of all of this that I’ll be celebrating Save the Children’s volunteers up and down the country and thanking them for everything they do – not just this week, but every single day.
If you’re reading this and thinking of volunteering for us – do it. You’ll be joining an incredible network of people who volunteer for many different reasons but have the same vision as Eglantyne and Dorothy in 1919 – to make the world a better place for children.