Cardiff's Jenny Ashton, is being celebrated this week for her volunteering during the pandemic as part of a new initiative from The National Lottery and ITV.

Miss Out to Help Out is encouraging the public to miss out on their favourite TV shows and instead use that time to ‘help out’ in their community.

Jenny, has been volunteering with Flourish, a project run by the Cardiff Community Housing Association, designed to help local families improve their finances and quality of life. She has been helping to host a drop-in service to feed those in need in her community. 

Jenny said: “I’ve been helping out with Flourish, run by Cardiff Community Housing Association, for a year. I can give as much time as I want, but I love it, so I’m usually there four days a week.

“I help out with the Pantry – it’s a drop-in service available to everyone in our community so they can access food. The Pantry is great, I use it too and some months it makes such a difference. 

“My advice to anyone thinking of starting something or getting involved is just go for it! People say to me, you’re mad, why don’t you do something for yourself instead? But this IS for me, I don’t mind missing out on watching Judge Rinder on the telly!” 

Jenny’s story and details of her work will be included on the microsite, designed to inspire others to join him and volunteer some of their time too. The website will direct people to volunteering opportunities near to where they live, including virtual volunteering for those currently unable to leave the house.

In the spirt of the initiative, Sports promoter Eddie Hearn ‘Missed Out to Help Out’ this week as he virtually volunteered with Sporting Memories, a charity that uses the power of sport to tackle dementia, depression and loneliness.

Acting as a session supporter, Eddie joined 12 Sporting Memories Club members for an online session designed to use the joy of talking about and remembering sport to spark lively conversation and fond memories. The sessions also include gentle physical activity to further increase wellbeing. The club is just one of the many thousands of community groups across the UK supported by some of the £30million raised by National Lottery players each week for good causes.

“Volunteering with Sporting Memories this week was a really rewarding experience,” said Eddie.

“To witness first-hand the impact, you can have on the wellbeing of an individual just by giving a small amount of your time to help out was so nice to see.

“I’d like to encourage everyone who has a bit of time to spare to go to to explore how they can support their local community. It’s amazing what you can do even in the time it takes to watch 12 rounds of boxing and the positive impact that you can have on the lives of others.”

It comes as a new study shows that over three quarters of people (77%) admire volunteers and almost two thirds of Welsh people (60%) say they value the work of volunteers more highly since the start of the pandemic in March.

Anyone interested in finding out how they can help in their local area – can visit and see what is available in their community.

Faiza Khan MBE, Director of Engagement and Insight at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We know - from the thousands of projects we fund each year – that people who give up their time to help their communities and make things happen are incredibly important.

“Small acts of kindness are needed now more than ever as we all adapt to profound changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope, through this campaign, more people will be inspired to lend a helping hand in communities across the UK. Thanks for National Lottery, over £800 million has been distributed to date across the UK to help tackle the impact of coronavirus.”