This Volunteers’ Week we are celebrating the fantastic work of the thousands of volunteers who help us at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
From inspecting headstones and guiding visitors, to helping our research and archive projects, we simply wouldn’t be able to reach so far and wide in our work without the dedication of our growing network of volunteers.
In recent years we have rolled out several programmes that have seen volunteers tell our story to new audiences and help us to meet the challenge of operating over such a large footprint.
Claire Horton CBE, Director General of CWGC, said: “There are so many different backgrounds and inspirations that bring people to volunteer for us, but they are all united by the belief that we must all together play our own small part in remembering the Commonwealth sacrifices of the World Wars and telling the stories of those who died.
“I was delighted to meet some of our wonderful and passionate volunteers during War Graves Week and see how they were truly bringing to life the stories behind the Commonwealth war graves right here in the UK to local communities.
“I want to say huge thank you to every single volunteer who has chosen to give up some of their time to join us in sharing the stories and caring for the memory of the war dead.”
Despite the difficulties of the last year we have been delighted to welcome so many new people to join us, and we now have more than 1,700 volunteers. Most recently, volunteers were front and centre of our first ever War Graves Week, delivering tours at dozens of CWGC cemeteries and memorials across the UK.
And we now have more than 230 trained volunteers in our Kantor Speakers Programme, ready to deliver virtual talks about the work of the CWGC and the people whose memory we care for.
As well as keeping alive the stories of the men and women we commemorate, volunteers are now playing a vital role in our maintenance work in the UK.
Since launching in 2019 we now have a national network of volunteers in our Eyes On, Hands On project. Funded by Annington, the programme sees volunteers visiting local war graves near to where they live to inspect them and help us make sure they’re kept in good condition.
We now have Eyes On, Hands On volunteers allocated to more than half of the 12,500 war grave sites across the UK, conducting regular site inspections and undertaking cleaning work where needed.
To find out more about volunteering opportunities as they become available, see our volunteering page.