This year, Volunteers' Week runs from 1-12 June, celebrating the 21 million people who volunteer in the UK at least once a year.
Volunteers’ Week will culminate in The Patron’s Lunch on 12 June, where Her Majesty The Queen will celebrate her patronage of more than 600 charities and her official 90th birthday.
The Royal British Legion is joining in the Volunteers’ Week celebrations to acknowledge the amazing work that all of our volunteers do for us, enabling us to further support the Armed Forces community.
Here are just three of our brilliant volunteers who donate their spare time to the Legion:
When Corporal Ben Poku isn’t serving in the Army as a nurse, he’s donating his spare time to being a volunteer case worker for the Legion.
Ben Poku regularly works with the Legion for events such as the Poppy Appeal
Ben has been a case worker for the past nine years, visiting beneficiaries in the London area to make sure they get all the support they need.
“I love my role. I enjoy seeing clients and sitting and talking with them. I do encourage other people to volunteer too.”
Originally from Ghana, Ben is based at Headley Court rehabilitation centre where he works as a nurse on the neuro rehabilitation ward for the British Army.
“I volunteer because as a nurse, and a serving member of the Armed Forces, I feel I can relate to people who find themselves in certain situations and I appreciate what people go through.
Ben talks about his role as a volunteer in this video by The Patron's Lunch about the Legion:
National Memorial Arboretum Guide
A couple of visits to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire for Jo Marchant resulted in signing up as a volunteer at the centre of remembrance. She now devotes one day a week to showing visitors around the site.
Jo knows all 150 acres of the Arboretum like the back of her hand
“When I started six years ago I thought I would never get to know all of the Arboretum because it seemed so big and overwhelming. Now I know it like the back of my hand!”
Jo does a range of things at the Arboretum, including guided walks and tailor-made buggy tours on all of the site’s 320 memorials. She particularly enjoys showing veterans around the Arboretum:
“When they see their friends’ names [on the memorials], immediately you can see in their mind they go back to reliving it, back in that moment. It’s very moving.”
“I meet such wonderful people from all walks of life – young and old. Interacting with them and taking them round is the highlight of my role; they’re all just so interesting.”
Her work at the Arboretum was recognised in 2013 when she was invited to St James’s Palace to meet HM The Queen.
After receiving help from the Legion when he was medically discharged from the Royal Marines, Paul McClintock wanted to help other’s in a similar situation and so became an information volunteer for the Legion.
Paul volunteers to help others like himself
“If it wasn’t for the Legion, I probably wouldn’t be here.They gave me my life back and stopped me living on the streets or doing something a lot worse.””
The Legion helped Paul with his compensation tribunal after he was seriously injured on a training exercise back in 2000, as well as getting him a wheelchair and securing a higher rate of war disablement pension.
As a beneficiary of the Legion’s work himself, Paul is able to call upon his own experiences to help people out.
“I know what it’s like to get the help and to give the help,” he explained. “When you’ve had the help, you know what advice to give or what to talk about with people when they need it. It’s nice to see the smiles on their face when they know you’re helping them.”
“My aim now is to go out and raise money to help other people so that they aren’t in the same situation as I was when I came out of the Army.”
Volunteer for the Legion
If you're feeling inspired by our volunteers' stories, why not volunteer for the Legion too? There are so many ways to volunteer, from collecting donations during the Poppy Appeal to directly assisting our beneficiaries. You can donate just a few days a year of your spare time to get involved.