Radio 1 and 1Xtra launch #1MillionHours volunteering campaign

BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra today announced plans for #1MillionHours - a year-long volunteering campaign that will see both stations motivating their young listeners to pledge 1 million hours of time to good causes over the next 12 months.

Published: 27 November 2015
I want BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra to be a force for good in the UK and magnify all the positive work that young people do for others, so we’re very proud to be working alongside some of the most experienced organisations in the country to reach 1 million hours of volunteering.
— Ben Cooper, Controller, Radio 1 and 1Xtra

Kicking off on 1 December with the first drive in the lead-up to Christmas, and running throughout 2016, the stations will shine a spotlight on all things volunteering in a bid to highlight the benefits of volunteering for young people.

#1MillonHours is one of Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s most ambitious social action programmes to date, working with featured charities Age UK, Barnardo’s, Cancer Research UK and Oxfam to highlight volunteering opportunities.

As well as asking the stations’ young audiences to pledge 1 million hours of time to volunteering, Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s #1MillionHours campaign will include:

  • Radio 1 and 1Xtra Stories: Volunteer Town - in this hour-long documentary for Radio 1 Stories, to be broadcast at 9pm on 22 December, Chris Stark will head to the town of Corby in the East Midlands to investigate just how many people it’s possible to sign up to Radio 1’s #1MillionHours initiative in 48 hours. Chris will explore the volunteer opportunities that exist in the town and meet the people already doing it. He will also take to the streets, shopping centres and clubs of Corby to persuade people to pledge their time to the #1MillionHours campaign.
  • BBC iPlayer documentary - a 20-minute visual documentary following the emotional journey of three young people that will be volunteering for the first time. To go live on Radio 1’s BBC iPlayer channel on 4 December.
  • Radio 1 and 1Xtra DJs and staff volunteer - during December, Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s daytime DJs - Adele Roberts, Nick Grimshaw, Clara Amfo, Scott Mills, Greg James, Twin B, Yasmin Evans, Trevor Nelson, A.Dot and Charlie Sloth - will spend time volunteering, and reflecting their experiences on air across Radio 1 and 1Xtra. Radio 1 and 1Xtra staff will also donate their time to worthy causes in December.
  • Radio 1’s Surgery: What’s in it for me? On 9 December (9-10pm) Radio 1’s Surgery will be a volunteering special, with presenters Gemma Cairney and Dr Radha looking at why it’s good to volunteer, speaking to some volunteers from Mind, who explain why it’s good for your mental health and wellbeing.
  • Radio 1’s Surgery: What do I have to do? On 16 December (9-10pm) Gemma Cairney and Dr Radha host a volunteering special, talking to some of the star volunteers from one of the featured charities involved in Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s #1MillionHours campaign. The pair will also speak to some of the people that have benefited from others volunteering and talk about what’s involved.

As well as pledging hours to the featured charities via the Radio 1 website, listeners will also be able to pledge their time to good causes on social media using the #1MillionHours hashtag. By including in their social media post the number of hours that the listeners have been inspired to donate, pledges via Twitter and Instagram will also be counted towards the 1 million hours milestone.

Radio 1 and 1Xtra are the leading voices for young people in the UK, tackling relevant issues through documentaries, Radio 1’s Surgery, Newsbeat as well as social action and outreach campaigns including Radio 1’s Academy, 1Xtra Live: The Sessions, Radio 1’s Anti-Online Bullying week and Radio 1’s Youth Council.

Ben Cooper, Controller of Radio 1 and 1Xtra, says: “I want BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra to be a force for good in the UK and magnify all the positive work that young people do for others, so we’re very proud to be working alongside some of the most experienced organisations in the country to reach 1 million hours of volunteering.”

Rebecca Stewart, Head of Volunteering at Age UK, says: “Age UK is delighted to be part of Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s #1MillionHours initiative. As well as supporting older people in their local communities, many of our younger volunteers tell us that they learn so much from volunteering and find it a really valuable life experience. We’re really excited to be involved in bringing generations together through the volunteering experiences we have to offer, whether that’s helping in one of our shops, supporting older people to get online or taking the time for a cup of tea and a chat with an older person who may not have anyone else to talk to.”

Javed Khan, Barnardo’s Chief Executive, says: “Next year marks 150 years since Barnardo’s began supporting vulnerable children across the UK. In 2016, we want to reach even more vulnerable children and young people, and I'm delighted that BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra have chosen to help us make that happen. Across every region and nation, the importance of volunteers to Barnardo’s can't be overstated. If you want to make a difference, please give a little of your time and find out just how rewarding volunteering can be.”

Simon Ledsham, Director of trading and volunteer fundraising at Cancer Research UK says: “We are delighted to be working with Radio 1 and 1Xtra to raise awareness of the amazing and rewarding volunteering opportunities there are, which cost nothing but spare time. At Cancer Research UK, we rely on the incredible support of our volunteers and fundraisers to help us beat cancer, so any hours people can give us will help us reach that goal sooner!”

Oxfam Head of Volunteering & Engagement, Dan O’Driscoll, says: “Volunteers are at the core of everything we do - they keep our shops running, they help festivals go smoothly. Without their energy, passion and kindness, Oxfam wouldn’t be able to do our vital work with people living in poverty around the world. That’s why we are so grateful to our volunteers, and always need more. By running #1MillionHours, Radio 1 and 1Xtra are shouting from the rooftops that volunteering is a wonderful and rewarding thing to do, both on a personal level and for humankind overall. Thank you Radio 1 and 1Xtra!”

Notes to Editors

To sign up to Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s #1MillionHours campaign please visit (live from 1 December).