Wessex Community Action is the council for voluntary services in Wiltshire and provides practical support for community organisations on funding, governance, planning, policy development, recruiting and leadership. This monthly volunteering column looks at all aspects of volunteering and how people can give up their time for the benefit of their communities.

Last year 7.2 million people across the UK, including Wiltshire, took part in The Big Help weekend, part of the celebrations to mark the King’s Coronation last June.

The Big Help gave people a chance to support their communities by taking part in volunteer taster days and because of its success it is no surprise then to see it is back as an event in its own right.

On June 7, 8 and 9, – an extra day this year to give schools and workplaces a chance to join in – people will be encouraged to once again to dip their toes into the world of volunteering to get a feel for the benefits that giving up their time can bring and gain an understanding of the amazing work going on in their communities. The hope is that fledgling volunteers will build up a rapport with the group and enjoy their taste so much they’ll want to come back.

The event will be a finale to Volunteers Week, itself a national showcase for volunteering.

Last year Salisbury City Council organised a successful Festival of Giving and Volunteering in the Guildhall Square on the Bank Holiday Monday of the Coronation Weekend. The city’s Foodie Forum, comprising the Salisbury Pantry, Salisbury Foodbank and Bemerton Community Fridge, came together to meet anyone interested in volunteering and show off their services.

Nationally, 70 per cent of those who tried volunteering for The Big Help Out said they were more likely to volunteer in the future and 80 per cent said they met someone new from a different background.

Wessex Community Action’s free online portal Wiltshire Together is an ideal place to find out what volunteering opportunities are available this year. It allows users to browse and pledge interest for opportunities listed by dozens of charitable organisations across the county. Users can search by area and set up a member profile that allows them to log their volunteer hours, which can help with CVs and employability prospects.

Volunteer and Community Development Worker Sarah Pickering said: “If people want to volunteer more locally for organisations in Wiltshire, they can find taster opportunities linked to The Big Help Out campaign page on Wiltshire Together, which will be launched shortly. We want people to be able to help a cause right on their doorstep.”

She is urging voluntary groups and charities who are holding taster days for The Big Help Out can register them on Wiltshire Together by signing up and creating a profile on the platform.

“The aim of The Big Help Out was to use volunteering to bring communities together and create a lasting volunteering legacy from the Coronation weekend and we really want to see that continue this year,” she said.

Contact Sarah at volunteerdev@wessexcommunityaction.org.uk or there is information on Wiltshire Together’s Volunteering in Wiltshire page at wiltshiretogether.org.uk/wiltshire-volunteering