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I volunteered at the London Chinese New Year Festival with the London Chinatown Chinese Association, which took place on Sunday 26 January, from Trafalgar square to Chinatown and Shaftesbury Avenue. There was a parade, several stages scattered around and all the Chinese food you could possibly imagine!

For the Lunar New Year 2020 - Year of the Rat - I was assigned to the backstage team. If you’ve ever wondered how to obtain free VIP passes to shows, have backstage access and meet all the performers - it’s through volunteering! We had the opportunity to meet so many talented artists and take exclusive pictures with them. One of the performances was from silver sabres academy which offers real life light sabre Jedi combat training. To our surprise, they were kind enough to let us have a go and play around with light sabres. Needless to say, we had fun meeting new people and learning about stage management for the first time.

I was also assigned to a stall, with the purpose of sharing parts of Chinese culture with the people of London. We were given a few Chinese lion masks for anyone to try on and take selfies with. It was truly wonderful seeing people’s faces light up on being able to be part of the parade they had just seen. Surprisingly, people kept coming, despite the rain which started to fall as we neared the end of our shift. The highlight of the day happened when we brought a mask to a man sitting alone on a bench with his dog; everyone gathered around to see the lion-dog and take some super adorable pictures!

Overall, the Chinese new year was a huge success, with my main concern being the number of times we photobombed people’s selfies at the lion head booth! I really enjoyed contributing to the sharing of the Chinese culture with thousands of people and having an exclusive insight into what happens behind the scenes of such a big festival.

Written by Aisha Allybux - One-Off Volunteering Ambassador


There are plenty of amazing one-off events where you can not only help others, but get involved in lots of fun. If you’re interested in volunteering at these events, take a look at our One-Off Volunteering Programme for other time-light opportunities. Keep your eyes peeled for our one-off ambassador logo also, in case you want to go along with a friendly face!