There are so many easy and fun ways you can help others without significantly changing your lifestyle. Sometimes, the prospect of fitting volunteering into a busy schedule seems impossible, but there are plenty of companies and organisations that offer facilities and services that are easy to contribute to, and don’t require you to significantly alter your schedule. Why not get involved?
As we move slowly into summer, you could think about having a wardrobe clean out and donate some of your winter woolies to charity. There will be plenty of charity shops in your local town or city that would be happy to accept a black bin liner of your (or your family’s!) clothes. Or on Oxfam’s website you can search for a shop or donation bank near you. The donation banks can be found in car parks around the UK and are open 24/7, which means you can go at any time in the week to suit you. Your clothes can then be resold or recycled by Oxfam.
If you happen to live in the South East, why not visit The Robin Hood pub in Brighton? Its Britain’s only charity pub – after staff wages and bills, all of their profits are given to local charities, such as Body Positive Brighton and Leo’s House Children’s Hospice. Similarly, if you live in the North of England, visit The Brink in Liverpool. From fish and chips to homemade hummus, a variety of delicious food and drink is offered on the menu. What’s best, the profits are funneled back into the local community to support those who have suffered through alcoholism and addiction. The Robin Hood and The Brink are fantastic opportunities to socialise with your friends and family whilst indirectly helping others.
Perhaps you’re someone who is keen on exercise but isn’t sure how this can be linked to voluntary work. GoodGym are an organisation open to people in Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Liverpool and Bristol, and aim to get ‘people all over the world off treadmills and into their communities’. If you have an hour free one evening after work, GoodGym gives you the opportunity to jog to someone’s house in the area who is less-mobile, have a chat with them and perhaps deliver them a newspaper or a piece of fruit, then jog back home again. It’s simple, healthy, and rewarding.
You can easily help the environment too, without having to change your lifestyle or schedule. The Big Lemon is an initiative in Brighton that offers a regular bus service around the city – but the fuel is recycled waste cooking oil from local restaurants. So if you ever find yourself in the Brighton area and are stuck for transport, get on the bright yellow bus and have satisfaction in the fact you’re contributing to a more sustainable travel system. If not, there are easy ways you can help the environment wherever you live: why not arrange a lift share with colleagues or fellow students? If you are all going to the same place anyway, this is an easy thing to do. Make sure you are recycling as well, and if you enjoy being in the garden, why not start your own compost pile?
Wherever you live, there will be plenty of little things you can do to help others and the environment. Volunteering does not require a huge commitment or drastic change of lifestyle, even the simplest, smallest things can do the world of good and make you feel happier.
Oxfam – search for shops and donation banks