HandsOn London Inspires Action Across the City

May 29, 2024

This month, Points of Light is proud to highlight HandsOn London, a Global Network Affiliate dedicated to empowering individuals to create change through meaningful volunteering. HandsOn London believes everyone should have the opportunity to make a difference. Their model is based on connecting volunteers with impactful projects across London, focusing on flexibility and convenience. With a focus on corporate volunteering, individual volunteering and family volunteering, they offer options for anyone wanting to contribute. We spoke with Tanshi Bhatia at HandsOn London to learn more about what this organization is doing throughout the city and beyond.

Tell us about a project or initiative you’re working on that’s making a big impact on your community.

WrapUp London is one of the largest winter volunteering events in the city aiming to collect warm coats for those in need, including unhoused communities, refugees and families. The collection usually runs from November to the start of December at the Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Moorgate, Waterloo and London Bridge tube stations. After 13 successful volunteering years in the U.K., the initiative has now become global.

Over three days, 2,861 coats were donated and 182 volunteers took part. In all, 16,420 coats were donated for WrapUp London and 1,115 individual and corporate volunteers gave more than 5,575 hours to the Wrap Up London Campaign.

“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who came out and donated coats, shared their stories and supported this campaign. It’s great to see how many people want to help those in need. I’d like to extend a hearty thank you to our wonderful individual and corporate volunteers, who selflessly give their time to make this campaign what it is – outstanding. The smiles and energy brought a bit of joy to commuters, which is an achievement in itself! Thank you!!” — Cassandra Wales, project & volunteer coordinator, HandsOn London

Do you have an upcoming special event or milestone that your organization is celebrating? Tell us about it!

Good Deeds Day is celebrated in April across 110 countries and shines a yearly spotlight on community and government volunteering initiatives. Throughout the month we host corporate teams and smaller groups events in order to spread the word about volunteer stories and the positivity that volunteering generates. This past year volunteers joined us at St. James Clements Community Centre in North Kensington to renovate the garden of the social hub for an underserved neighborhood. With more than 30 volunteers of all ages and abilities committed to the project, we were able to prepare the outdoor space ready for therapy gardening and allowing the center to use its garden to offer more counseling services to their community. We are hoping to create an even bigger difference this year on April 14th, 2024 for Good Deeds Day.

HandsOn London
Do small things with great love. A young volunteer helps their parent tidy up a plant pit. Photo and Caption Courtesy HandsOn London

Are you working with Points of Light Global Network affiliates on a community project? Share the details.

AbbVie’s week of possibilities is a week of corporate volunteering, from June 24th through June 28th. It’s based in the Windsor area, with volunteering projects focusing on green space developments and community care projects. Some of the events include volunteering at seniors’ day centers and doing activities like interacting with members of the center, cleaning, painting and gardening.

Giggle Bags is another project that we host in which the volunteers help create and decorate small goodie bags filled with toiletries and essentials for people in need. We also have some remote projects such as book making for positive ageing for seniors.

How are you recognizing and thanking volunteers for their contributions?

We are always thankful for all our volunteers and all the contributions and work they do to help bring a change in the community. We recognize our volunteers and their contributions through online shoutouts and thank you newsletters after family days.

In addition to volunteering, describe other elements of the Points of Light Civic Circle®️ that your work involves. How has the Civic Circle become central to your approach?

For the Social Entrepreneur, element, we partner with the needs of charities and volunteers with flexibility. Since we don’t receive government funding, we are able to respond to the needs of communities and charities. For the Listen and Learn element, we give high priority towards recognizing the needs of the people in our community and working towards bringing a change. We also focus on gaining feedback from our volunteers and trying to be better everyday.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone who’s looking to get more involved in their community through civic engagement?

Find what you are passionate about and start getting involved, even if it is on a small scale.

Points of Light

We are champions of civic engagement with a mission to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.