Welby urges party leaders to volunteer for hour this weekend amid Big Help Out

Party political leaders should take an hour this weekend to do some volunteering, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Justin Welby joined more than 50 charity, business, community and religious leaders in making the call to coincide with the Big Help Out taking place from Friday to Sunday.

In an open letter to party leaders, they also asked the politicians to set out a vision for how to build “stronger, kinder and better connected communities” alongside an agenda “for bridging divides and bringing people together”.

The Big Help Out, first launched as part of the King’s coronation last year and which this year happens at the end of volunteers’ week, aims to raise awareness of and provide opportunities for people to give their time to help make a difference in their communities.

The letter said: “Whatever our political viewpoints, we all share a vision of a country where what we have in common is more important than our differences, and where we live in communities where we’re able to support and connect with one another and to feel that we belong.”

Signatories include Girlguiding, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the RSPB.

The letter, co-ordinated by the Together Coalition, added: “We would ask that alongside setting out your vision for communities, that you might also take an hour of that weekend to take part in community volunteering of whatever sort.

“We are happy to help set up or suggest activities no matter where you are in the country, we’re expecting millions of people to do the same over the course of the weekend.”

Brendan Cox, who co-founded the Together Coalition with Mr Welby, said: “We’re calling on all party leaders to take off their rosettes and get off their soapboxes for an hour this weekend and take part in community volunteering as part of the Big Help Out.

“We’re expecting millions of people to take part and politicians can help lead by example.

“Volunteers are what hold our country together – from food banks to football clubs – and this weekend we hope they can take centre stage.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said: “Emily and I regularly volunteer and are looking forward to joining in some of the fun for this Community Weekend.”