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Central Hall Westminster shares the remarkable benefits of volunteering

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In the events industry where the pace can often feel overwhelming, volunteering has emerged as a powerful antidote, offering profound benefits to not only those who are being supported but also to the volunteers themselves.

From utilising pedal power to litter picking, with Volunteers Week taking place this week (3-9 June), Central Hall Westminster’s team shines a spotlight on how donating their time has enriched both their own lives as well as their work as busy event professionals.

Valuable new skills and experiences

Volunteering offers a unique opportunity for personal development. Imogen Basi, events manager at Central Hall Westminster, has volunteered her time as an area manager for Pride in London 2024 to support the cause as well as gain wider industry experience. Through her volunteering she says she’s benefited from meeting and learning from people she may not otherwise have had the privilege to meet.

Events manager Jacob Thorpe, who cycled from Plumpton, Sussex, to Paris, France, to raise almost £2,000 for The Motor Neurone Disease Association agrees. He said: “Voluntary work offers unique opportunities to get experience and exposure to situations you otherwise would not have in your day-to-day life.”

Benefits of volunteering include boost to mental health and happiness

Engaging in meaningful activities provides a sense of purpose and fulfilment, which are critical components for mental wellbeing and overall happiness. It’s something that Liam Farrelly, Central Hall Westminster’s business development manager, believes is quite powerful.

Thanks to his work packing wellbeing bags for a Women’s Refuge in New York City and litter picking in his local borough, volunteering has helped Liam have a positive mental attitude and given him an opportunity to improve his wellbeing. In the future, Liam would also like to offer his time to support a military or children’s charity.

Liam says: “Creating a safe space for women to gather and take away something to benefit their lives in a positive way, and helping protect the environment in my spare time gives me a huge sense of fulfilment.”

The venue’s facilities manager, Hayleigh Champkin, who helps raise money for a local charity called Up on Downs, agrees. She says: “It’s made me feel like I’m making even just a small difference to the children’s lives.”

Builds social connections

In an era dominated by digital interaction, volunteering fosters social connections by bringing people together for a powerful cause, which are essential for emotional health.

Jacob adds: “There are so many charities that can really benefit from volunteering. It’s great for your heart and your mind, it passes time in a constructive way, it gets you out of the house, gives you a reason to get up in the morning, let’s you make new friends, and more.   It’s a win-win for all concerned. I’ve gained so much confidence, a sense of achievement as well as an improvement in both my physical and mental wellness.”

Liam agrees and says: “Volunteering is a great way to connect with people I wouldn’t generally meet as well as learn about something different.”

Enhances physical health

The physical benefits for volunteering are equally compelling. The venue’s chief operating officer, Sarah Franczak, has previously undertaken marathon distance charity walks raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. She hopes to take on others in the future because of the fitness gained through the training. She says: “A 26.2-mile walk takes 8-9 hours, so the training all adds up. You also gain good mental strength during extended training periods.”

As the need for volunteers continues to grow, Central Hall Westminster’s team are encouraging other event professionals to donate their time.

Sales account manager, Ben Jeffery, volunteers on an ad-hoc basis at a Donation Hub. He says volunteering provides an understanding that not everyone is as lucky as others in life, and it is nice to give back to those who need it. His message is: “Do it! It’s a great feeling to see that you are making a difference in people’s lives.” Sarah agrees and says: “Just give it a go, I’m sure you won’t regret it!”

 

See more about Volunteer’s Week