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Dean helps turn grey to green and calls on the public to join the Big Help Out

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Dean helps turn grey to green and calls on the public to join the Big Help Out

Big Help Out logoRadio 1 star Dean McCullough returned to his hometown of Belfast this week to visit The Belfast Urban Garden (The BUG) on the city’s Kent Street, with the aim of inspiring people to give volunteering a try during The Big Help Out next month.

With support from Volunteer Now, The Conservation Volunteers and a wide range of local organisations, The Big Help Out will invite the public to lend a hand for causes across Northern Ireland between Friday 7th and Sunday 9th June – the culmination of Volunteers’ Week, a week-long celebration of the work of volunteers here.

Speaking about the initiative, Dean McCullough said: “The Big Help Out is becoming a really brilliant tradition. It’s a great way to give volunteering a try for an hour a day or a weekend – doing something you care about at a time and place that’s convenient for you.

“We all know that volunteering – whether that’s at food banks, kids’ football, or local litter picks – can make a huge difference to the communities we live in, but it can also have a fantastic impact on the person who volunteers too. Volunteering is great for your mental health, it can boost feelings of self-worth and it’s a great way of meeting people too. So why not get involved next month – it could be the best thing you do all year!” Dean said.

Across Northern Ireland, almost 100,000 people took part in The Big Help Out last year and 71% of those who participated said it helped them meet new people and bring their community together.

Research shows the positive impact volunteering can make on communities and volunteers, including a link between volunteering and overall life-satisfaction, feelings of being effective and in control*. Volunteer Now’s BeCollective platform has almost 3,000 volunteering opportunities ready and waiting for people to get involved.

Denise Hayward, Chief Executive, Volunteer Now comments: “Volunteers are vital and much of our community life simply wouldn’t happen without them. The Big Help Out campaign is encouraging people to get involved and to try volunteering.  There will be opportunities across Northern Ireland so why not find one that works for you and give it a try – it might become a habit that lasts a lifetime.”

The BUG is one of the organisations that will be hosting a Big Help Out event next month.

Dave Morton, Assistant Director, Northern Ireland, The Conservation Volunteers added: “The BUG is such a fantastic resource for Belfast. This little urban gem offers individuals, groups and businesses from our neighbouring communities the opportunity to engage with a city garden and come away feeling the wonderful benefits of being active and connected to nature.”

Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Ryan Murphy commented: “I’m really pleased to see our new urban garden, The BUG, hosting a Big Help Out event on Friday 7th June on a section of the Belfast Stories site. We’ve made a commitment in our community plan, The Belfast Agenda, to place wellbeing at the heart of our city and to help enhance mental health. And there’s so much research pointing to the positive impacts that both volunteering and gardening can have for us as individuals, and as communities, so I’d really encourage residents to get involved with the Big Help Out this year. You’ll feel great – and you’ll be helping to make your city an even better place to live!”

*Research source-  (Wellbeing and Engagement in Culture, Arts, Heritage and Sport by Adults in Northern Ireland 2022/23)

Current volunteering opportunities across NI include:

  • The Conservation Volunteers are holding a Big Help Out event on Friday 7th June at The BUG, Belfast Urban Garden, Kent Street. They are calling on the public to join them on this ‘grey to green’ site, planting a range of seasonal vegetables in the community garden and a sunflower seed for people to take home. This event is open to all people/organisations already lending a hand in urban garden projects as well as those new to urban gardening.
  • Girlguiding Ulster is hosting “drop-in” volunteer trial sessions in areas across Northern Ireland, with plenty of fun activities and opportunities for potential volunteers to discover or rediscover what guiding is all about. Drop in sessions are already happening on Saturday 8th June, 11.00 – 3.00 in Holywood, Co Down in a Guide Hall and in a shopping centre in Ballymena on the morning of Saturday 8th June.
  • Beach clean at Portstewart Strand – National Trust rangers will be leading guided hour-long litter pick walks. The nature walk starts on Saturday 8 June at 12 midday and a climate change walk at 1pm. Litter pickers and bin bags will be provided – learn more about nature and the environment while helping to care for Portstewart Strand.


About Volunteer Now
Volunteer Now is the voice of volunteering in Northern Ireland. For more information visit

About The Conservation Volunteers   Connecting people and green spaces to deliver lasting outcomes for both.

About The Big Help Out
The Big Help Out is being backed by 30 well known volunteering charities who are in the ‘Shaping the Future with Volunteering’ group: AgeUK, Barnardos, British Red Cross, Canal & River Trust, Cats Protection, Citizens Advice, CPRE, Cruse Bereavement Support, Girl Guiding, Guide Dogs, National Trust, NCT, NSPCC, Papworth Trust, Ramblers, RNIB, RNLI, Rotary, Royal Voluntary Service, RSPB, RSPCA, Samaritans, Sea Cadets, Scouts, St John Ambulance, Stroke Association, TCV, Trussell Trust, Volunteering Matters, YHA

About Together
Together is a coalition that everyone is invited to join, from individuals and community groups to the UK’s best known businesses and organisations. Our aim is to build kinder, closer and more connected communities by bringing people together and bridging divides. Thanks to National Lottery players, Together has received £1 million over three years from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

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