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We want visitors to come away from Volunteer Expo Online with a spring in their step and ideas in their minds.
That’s why we are organising a programme full of expert speakers and inspiring sessions to get you feeling energised, ready to change lives and take action. Sessions will be in a range of formats, including soapbox talks and Q&A sessions.
Whether you’re passionate about a certain area of volunteering, or have never volunteered before – there will be something to peak your interest.
Speaker list is subject to change.
Heavyweight boxer and mental health campaigner
An audience with Frank Bruno, in and out of the ring
Former world champion boxer Frank Bruno has risen above the boundaries of his discipline to win a place in the nation's hearts. After a career going head to head with the likes of Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, he has a new fight on his hands: to knockout the stigma associated with mental health. He uses his profile to normalise discussing mental health, something he introduces to young people through the Frank Bruno Foundation.
Award winning broadcaster and adventurer Ben Fogle has decades of adventures and travelling under his belt, with countless lessons to share on the natural world and inspirational stories to tell of personal perseverance. He is known for presenting numerous programmes, including Animal Park and Countryfile, and has travelled to over 200 places around the world during his broadcasting career. He is also a British Red Cross Ambassador and UN Patron of the Wilderness.
A little help goes a long way
An infectious and inspirational character, Steve became paralysed after falling from a balcony at just 23 and went on to captain Great Britain’s wheelchair rugby team at the London 2012 Paralympics. Steve is now a popular broadcaster and wants to tell you how volunteers helped open the door and his eyes to all kinds of possibilities.
An actor of stage and screen, in the last decade, Brooke has been a passionate and avid campaigner against knife crime, after her 16-year-old brother, Ben Kinsella, was tragically murdered in 2008. Brooke’s campaigning has generated millions of pounds for anti-knife crime services. She also founded a Trust in her brother's memory, which focuses on early intervention and education.
What impact has the pandemic had on volunteering and what is likely to be the legacy for the future?
Sarah Vibert is currently the interim Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), and was formerly the Director of Membership and Engagement, having joined NCVO in January 2020. Sarah's talk will explore ways in which volunteering has changed during the pandemic – changes to who volunteers, what roles volunteers play and how volunteering is organised.
A year like no other: how volunteering was changed and why we can’t go back
Catherine, took up the role of Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) in August 2017, an organisation providing volunteer support for over-stretched public services and for people as they age. Prior to her role at RVS, Catherine was Chief Executive of Samaritans. Catherine will share the experience of being on the frontline of the pandemic and share her thoughts about the opportunity to expand our civic society to be more inclusive.
Mental Health, Media and Me
BBC Radio 1 presenter and author Katie is passionate about mental health awareness, with much of her work focussed around supporting young people, with warm and honest advice on a wide range of issues. She is an ambassador for charities Place2be and YoungMinds, as well as being a trained counsellor and will be a familiar face to families across the country, as she presented BBC Bitesize’s Daily TV shows for secondary school students during lockdown in 2020.
Katie will talk about how her own mental health and her interest in the subject has shaped her career in TV and radio and how she has built resilience to deal with the everyday challenges those working in the industry face, as well as how volunteering has impacted on her personal and professional life.
Sisters Amy and Ella Meek are Founders of Kids Against Plastic, a charity which is empowering young people to protect the environment. Over the last year they have helped pick up over 65,000 pieces of single use plastic and made over 50 cafés, schools, businesses and festivals ‘Plastic Clever’.
Disasters, coronavirus and climate change: in an ever changing world, ShelterBox’s work is more important than ever
Sanj is the Chief Executive of disaster response charity, ShelterBox. Sanj has been leading teams in adversity over the last two decades; from peacekeeping operations on the Iran-Iraq border, to responding to Ebola outbreaks in Liberia. Sanj's talk will look at how the world's most vulnerable are facing a perilous triple threat – disasters, coronavirus and climate change.
The Future of Volunteering
Through his time at the Scouts, and in his former role as Chief Executive of the National Union of Students and as a current trustee of Step Up To Serve, Matt has helped change the conversation around youth volunteering, attracting support and investment to grow youth social action.
Matt will share how the Scouts adapted during the pandemic and how the movement continues to modernise to attract new volunteers. He will conclude the conference with an optimistic vision of volunteering in the UK - one where the giving of time and acts of kindness are at the heart of our communities.
Exhibitor Spotlight: Army Cadet Force
The Army Cadet Force aims to inspire young people between 12 and 18 years old to challenge their limits, grow their abilities and go further in life. In the next instalment of our Exhibitor Spotlight series, we see how they deliver this through the community-based Army Cadet Force and the school-based Combined Cadet Force.