How can I help my local community? 8 great ways

Have you ever asked the question, how can I help my local community?

It’s probably much easier than you may have initially believed. You don’t need to give up all your time; there are things you can do to help your local community when you have some spare time. You can even try to incorporate some of our suggestions into your everyday routine.

Even the small gestures count, such as bringing in next door’s bins, offering to mow an elderly neighbour’s lawn and shopping on your local high street instead of buying exclusively from major retailers.

At Westway CT, we truly believe in community spirit, and that’s why we’ve pulled together this list of 8 great ways that you can give a little back to your local area.

Ideas to help the community

1. Help maintain the local area
2. Donate or support a local charity
3. Support your local shops and businesses
4. Help an elderly or frail person
5. Offer a helping hand at charity events
6. Donate your services or time at school raffles and fairs
7. Organise community get-togethers
8. Put together a local group

1. Keep the local area tidy

The environment we live in shapes us, so it’s important we keep it neat and maintained. Organise a litter pick up to keep pathways clean and speak to your local council if you feel they could do more to keep the area in better order.

Raise awareness in your area of the importance of recycling and throwing rubbish in the correct place or not pouring anything other than rainwater down the drain – look at the Yellow Fish Scheme to learn more.

You could also look into conservation volunteering that brings together people from the local area to work on green spaces that benefit the community. It’s not only great for the environment and local people but is also good for those who want to socialise more and even get fitter. Look on The Conservation Volunteers site for a local group to join. There is also a charity called Progress that organizes Organic Cultivation Projects in areas of London in dire need of regeneration. We have seen Progress in action opposite our offices.

2. Donate to a local charity

We all feel good after donating to charity and while we’re aware of and perhaps support many of the larger ones, sometimes it’s important to look a little closer to home and give to our local not-for-profit organisations. Use a site such as Localgiving to find charities in your local area and donate what you can spare. Just type in your location, and you’ll be presented with a list of good causes you can donate to. If you run a charity, ensure it is listed on the site so other people can find it. Westway CT also asks for donations to help us support the Volunteer Cars service.

You can also donate your time, you don’t have to donate money. Westway CT is always looking for Volunteer Drivers to help support the Volunteer Cars Service.

3. Support local businesses

Shopping locally is a brilliant way of providing help in the local community. Your money can be used to support local people and create local jobs and even tourism opportunities. Local businesses that grow can provide future employment and bring real opportunity to the area.

It doesn’t have to be much, supporting small movements such as the Just a Card campaign can help – which encourages people to buy a little something from a small business, even if it’s just a birthday card. If you like a local store or have used a service and recommend it, be sure to tell others about it to get them through the door.

Westway CT is an accredited Social Enterprise (SE). SE’s are businesses with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.

4. Assist your elderly or frail neighbours

Little gestures mean a lot and if you have elderly or frail neighbours, it’s likely they need a helping hand now and then. Loneliness in the elderly is a significant issue in the UK, with Age UK noting that more than one million older people go over a month without speaking to anyone.

A kind word can mean a lot, just asking how someone is and taking an interest in their wellbeing could be enough to raise their spirits and another way to help in the local community. Alternatively, you could offer your free time to assist someone with household chores they perhaps can’t manage themselves, to take them to the local shop if they can’t drive or have access to a mobility scooter or even spend an hour watching TV to keep them company.

If you want to help your local community but don’t feel you have the time to spare, point them in the direction of an organisation such as Contact the Elderly, who organise monthly tea parties for older people to help them make friends and socialise.

You could also contact your local supermarket to organise a Wish Tree at Christmas; this features wishes that seniors in the local area or care home might enjoy during the festive season. They fill in a card, it’s added to the tree, and then people can choose to take them out for the day or buy them things they need.

5. Volunteer in your local community

There are a considerable number of ways to volunteer and give back. These include:

  • Volunteering at your local school events – Reach out to your local school, it helps if you have children there, and ask if they need any assistance at the next show or fair. Many will always be grateful for another pair of hands
  • Mentoring a young person – Look into a mentoring scheme via a charity such as Reach Out who offer an ear to young people who need it most
  • Becoming a hospital visitor – The Royal Voluntary Service can help you support your local community by becoming a regular hospital visitor. This usually involves popping in to see patients who perhaps don’t have any family who can get to them and supporting NHS staff with the emotional side of patient care at the same time
  • Working in a charity shop – Charity shops rely on volunteers to support the day to day running and customer service. Speak to your local shop to see what you can do to help

6. Offer services or products for school raffles and fairs

If you’re unable to donate your time to a local school event, then you might be able to find another way to contribute. If you have a local business donate a coupon for a discount towards a service or money off a product that you sell or perhaps hand in an electrical item you haven’t used or don’t want that can be given out as a prize.

7. Organise seasonal events

There’s nothing quite like a festive event to bring everyone together, try to organise a small local gathering to celebrate something seasonal. Perhaps an organised trick or treat walk on Halloween would be an excellent way to teach local kids how to behave on the night properly and to encourage older adults to change their views on the holiday.

Or maybe you can organise a fireworks event on your local playing field for everyone to enjoy and have local businesses offer their services for the night. A royal wedding or bank holiday is another excellent opportunity for perhaps something a little closer to home, with a fun street party that brings everyone together who live nearby.

8. Start a local community group

Do you have a hobby you’re passionate about and skilled in? You could set up a local group to teach others in the community or bring together other like-minded people. You could hire out your local hall or host the first get together in your home.

Cycling and running groups are great for bringing everyone together and boosting the well-being of the community at the same time. For those who are passionate about photography, walkabouts as a group to snap pictures and compare is a fun way to pass a few hours at the weekend and make friends.

Alternatively, you could organise all the skilled embroiders and knitters in your area to work together to create donations for the local hospital or a homeless charity, ready for the winter months. Something like The Big Knit campaign run by Innocent, in partnership with Age UK.

There’s so much you can do to help in the community, and you don’t have to organise massive events and raise thousands of pounds. Start small and try to improve the lives of those around you, even something as simple as a smile for those you walk past on the street can brighten someone’s day and pass that good feeling forward.

Interested in Volunteering for Westway CT?

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