Here are our top 5 ways you help others and yourself! I’ve found some great ways to make an impact locally, as suggested by our very own FPL members.
You may have some preconceptions about volunteering, it isn’t just fundraising on the street. You could volunteer by doing something you already love like cooking or gardening and you can do all this whilst making friends and working some magic into your community.
- Do you love to cook at home? Do you usually make too much? I always cook as if I’m feeding an entire army and almost always have leftovers. Casserole Club is an amazing initiative that encourages volunteers to share their extra portions of home-cooked food with someone in need who lives in the same area. This is a great way of reducing waste, interacting with your neighbours and making friends . Take a look at CasseroleClub.com
- Do you like keeping fit? Ever feel like you need a good reason to go for that run as you never get round to it? Thinking about starting a running club in your area? The Good Gym is an innovative way to do some good in your community whilst getting fit. It’s a fantastic way to “kill two birds with one stone.” Whilst you’re on your run and getting fit, you can do something helpful for someone in your area, like putting up a shelf or running an errand for them and if there is a big group of runners, you could paint someone’s living room; Think of the possibilities! It is currently running in many areas in London, Bath and Bristol but is set to launch in other areas in the UK. If it’s not in your area yet, you could try something similar that would work in your own community. Intrigued? Take a look at TheGoodGym.org.
- Hate wasting food? Want to expand your cooking skills? Love socialising? FoodCycle is a national charity that needs volunteers to help to provide food for people at risk of food poverty and social isolation. You don’t have to be Jamie Oliver, have some fun in the kitchen and get to know your neighbours whilst serving nutritious three-course meals that you can enjoy with them. Pukka! They have many hubs across the UK which is supported by volunteers; this is a great way to get out into your local area and make someone’s day. Shirley is a guest of one of the hubs in Bristol, “There are a lot of people who live on their own, and it’s nice to sit round a table, and have dinner, instead of sitting in all the time on your own with a TV dinner. The social thing, that’s what I’ve got out of it.” Find your nearest FoodCycle hub at FoodCyle.org.uk
- Frustrated by litter? Don’t just moan about it, do something about it; join the team of volunteers, clean up and make friends along the way! Keep Britain Tidy is an independent environmental charity that aims to clean up public areas, they emphasise the importance of the environment to local communities. They need volunteers who care about their local areas and want to keep them safe and clean. They also have an app where you can report any environmental issues in your area, helping to keep your area sparkling clean! Head over to KeepBritainTidy.org for more information.
- Do you love animals? Do you want to help someone in need? I’d love to be able to spend time with animals and have the bonus of helping someone at the same time, it’s a win-win situation! The Cinnamon Trust is a fantastic charity that seeks to help with the anxieties and problems faced by the elderly and those that are terminally ill and their pets. They need volunteers who can help with the day-to-day care of an animal such as walking someone’s dog for them. Have a look at Cinnamon.org.uk
We received so many amazing suggestions from our FPL members, some of them only operate at a local level but we thought they were some really great initiatives and wanted to shout about them! If you like them, why not look for similar organisations or set one up yourself in your area. We can’t include them all but we have chosen some of our favourites to share with you all:
- CHIP+ is based in Inverness and offers information, support and advice to families and carers of children with additional support needs. They do incredible work, take a look and see how you can help them at ChipPlus.org.uk
- Yogamobility is based in Cardiff and offers yoga classes to adults who feel they can benefit from yoga but feels unable to attend mainstream lessons and uses the power of yoga as a powerful approach which focuses on ability rather than disability. Have a look at their great work at YogaMobility.org
- Dial-a-ride is a voluntary organisation that provides transport in the Wimborne and East Dorset areas to help people with mobility issues and elderly people who find it difficult accessing public transport. We think they provide an invaluable service and really make a difference to people’s lives, for more information have a look at VisionWimborneDialARide.org.uk
Thanks to all of you who sent in your suggestions. I’ve been amazed by all of them. I hope I’ve shown you that not only can you help without handing out money, but you can also have a lot of fun and incorporate and develop hobbies. We’d love to hear from you if you know of any other innovative ways to get involved in volunteering that you think should be on the list.