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Exeter Volunteer Fayre returns bigger and better than ever!

Exeter’s Volunteer Fayre is set to return on Thursday, 23 March and promises to be bigger and better than ever!

The fayre, which takes place at Exeter Cathedral, is predicted to attract more than 50 exhibitors and up to 400 visitors – double the number compared to last year.

It will bring together voluntary groups, charities and not-for-profit organisations all of which are looking to recruit new volunteers.

Entry to the Fayre is free and visitors will have the chance to find out more about the organisations exhibiting and the volunteering opportunities on offer.

Thirty-five organisations have already signed up to exhibit including Exeter Leukaemia Fund, the Nest South West CIC, Devon Carers, Read Easy Exeter, Cygnet Theatre, Age UK Exeter YMCA Exeter and Hospital Radio Exeter.

The Fayre is being organised by local charity Exeter Community Initiatives’ Exeter Connect project, a voluntary, community and social enterprise sector support service which provides free advice, training, networks and events to help organisations and groups in Exeter develop and grow.

Katie Holland, Chief Executive of Exeter Community Initiatives, which helps people facing poverty and inequality to get their lives back on track, said: “If you’re looking to volunteer but not sure what opportunities are out there, then come along to our Volunteer Fayre!  Many voluntary groups, charities and not-for-profit organisations are seeing an increase in demand for their services due to the cost-of-living crisis. The need to recruit volunteers who can support them to deliver these much-needed services has never been so urgent.”

Katie added: “Last year was the first time we put on the Fayre. Twenty-eight organisations exhibited and there were over 200 visitors. Over 25% of exhibitors received enquiries about their volunteering opportunities. This year’s venue of Exeter Cathedral gives us the capacity to double the number of exhibitors and in turn we’re hoping for even more visitors.”

Anderson Jones, Community Development Officer at local charity Devon Communities Together, who previously exhibited at the Fayre, said:  “Last year’s Volunteer Fayre was very positive and we obtained 10 potential volunteers on the day. It was a good day not only to recruit volunteers but network with other organisations. We’re looking forward to returning this year!”

Apart from helping other people, volunteering also benefits the volunteer.

A recent report published by the National Lottery Community Fund (NCLF) states volunteering has huge physical and mental wellbeing benefits, from improving people’s confidence and self-esteem, to building their resilience and raising aspirations. It can also provide people with a sense of purpose, build new friendships and reduce isolation and loneliness.

The NLCF concluded that over three years of supporting community volunteering projects contributed £4 billion to the UK economy.

The Volunteer Fayre takes place on Thursday 23 March, 10.30am-2.30pm at Exeter Cathedral. To book a stand, please contact Exeter connect on 01392 205800 or email [email protected]