From June 7th – 9th Birmingham came together for the national Big Help Out, a weekend of volunteering action to support local people, communities and good causes. People from across the city gave their time and skills to support local charities, voluntary and community groups. This blog shines a light on some of the amazing activities that happened, and the difference made by those who volunteered. 

Summit Learning Trust & Birmingham Community Healthcare Charity 

Colleagues from the Summit Learning Trust volunteered to support the work of Birmingham Community Healthcare Charity (BCHC). They got stuck into lots of practical work and spent the day supporting the Estates Team to maintain the Garden of Reflection. The Garden of Reflection is a lovely outdoor space where patients, staff and visitors can spend time enjoying the fresh air and gathering their thoughts. It’s a valuable space appreciated by people who visit the hospital.  

Vanisha Mistry, Volunteer Coordinator at BCHC, said “It was so much fun being a part of the Big Help Out, meeting new volunteers and promoting Green Space Volunteering through BCHC Charity. The volunteers did a wonderful job weeding the Garden of Reflection at Moseley Hall Hospital. The Big Help Out supported us to reach out to new volunteers through Birmingham Voluntary Service Council. The volunteers from Summit Learning Trust were a huge support to the Estates Team, as well as keeping the space beautiful and tidy for patients, visitors, and staff to use to be away from the hospital, enjoy the fresh air, gather their thoughts, and reflect.” 

Mandeep Kaur, Community and Marketing Lead at Summit Learning Trust, volunteered with her colleagues and said “We had a fantastic day at Moseley Hall Hospital volunteering with Vanisha and her team. It was a very rewarding day for our staff members to make a real difference in our community and thoroughly enjoyed by all”. 

University of Birmingham, Over The Wall & Pannel Croft Retirement Village 

As part of the Global Xtra Showcase, students at the University of Birmingham did some microvolunteering activities. Microvolunteering is a bite-size volunteering activity that’s quick to start and easy to complete. Throughout the Global Showcase event on Thursday 6th June, students took actions including writing encouraging notes for campers attending camps organised by Over The Wall, a charity that supports children and young people with health challenges and disabilities. Students also wrote their favourite jokes and kind messages on postcards for residents at the Pannel Croft Retirement Village

Karen Blanch – Project Manager at the University of Birmingham – spoke about how valuable volunteering is for students; “Volunteering is a great opportunity for students to get involved in the local community and feel a sense of belonging, to feel that they are contributing to something beyond their studies.” 

 BVSC, SIFA Fireside & FareShare Midlands 

In the week leading up to the Big Help Out, colleagues from BVSC gave their time by volunteering with SIFA Fireside, a local charity supporting people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness, and FareShare Midlands, a charity that takes good quality surplus food and redistributes it to frontline charities and community groups. Volunteers got involved with a range of practical activities, including serving breakfast and lunch, chatting with service users, sorting deliveries and packing orders.  

Gwyn Rose-Hocknull, HR Officer at BVSC, said of her volunteering experience “What a wonderful experience I had volunteering at SIFA! It was truly eye-opening and an honour to be part of such a worthy cause.  Who knew that there was such a comprehensive support system for the homeless in our community?  SIFA not only provided meals, but also a facility for showering and having a change of clothes. Interacting with guests was an incredibly rewarding experience. I would definitely recommend volunteering at SIFA!”  

What’s next?  

There are always opportunities for local people to give their time to support vulnerable people and the work of great charities across Birmingham. If you would like to consider volunteering, visit BVSCs Community Noticeboard to look at the variety of opportunities on offer: Community Noticeboard | Birmingham Voluntary Service Council ( If you have questions about volunteering, contact Becky – [email protected]