Hitchin Market Place hosted the Hertfordshire Volunteering Fair last Friday (May 12), with Hitchin & Harpenden MP Bim Afolami dropping by to speak to local charities.

Thirty charities attended the fair to raise awareness of the work they do in the area and champion the benefits of volunteering.

The fair was hosted by GoVolHerts, a project delivered by North Herts and Stevenage CVS and funded by Hertfordshire County Council.

It was part of The Big Help Out, organised to mark the Coronation of King Charles III.

After the fair, Mr Afolami said: “We live in an absolutely brilliant community with great local organisations – backed by dedicated volunteers – who make a real positive impact on lives across Hitchin, Harpenden and the villages.

"I thoroughly enjoyed meeting some of those volunteers and organisations at the Hertfordshire Volunteering Fair in Hitchin and seeing local people engage with them to find out more about how they can get involved.

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"Volunteering can be a really great way to give back to our community and there are lots of different opportunities to explore.

"I would encourage anyone who has a bit of time to give to consider doing so – it is a really worthwhile way to help your community.”

Katie Staddon, project manager at GoVolHerts, said: “Our volunteering fair shone a light on how incredibly lucky we are to have such a diverse and rich tapestry of charities that support our residents in times of need.

"Without volunteers, who are often the lifeblood of these organisations many would not survive.

"Volunteering can have substantial benefits on those who take part including improved wellbeing, increased connectedness and enhanced employability.

“Despite challenging weather on the day, the event was a huge success! Over 155 new volunteers expressed an interest in helping these local causes, heart-warming stories were shared, and many meaningful connections were made.

“We were really grateful that our MP, Bim Afolami was able to join us at such an inspirational event.”

You can browse a wide range of volunteering opportunities available in Hertfordshire at www.govolherts.org.uk.