Mental Health Awareness week: Give

Giving back to the community

by Grant Stevens, Senior Resident

Giving back to the community can be incredibly rewarding. It doesn’t have to be in big ways such as fundraisers or volunteering in a shop (but if you can do those then that’s great too) but can be from something as simple as litter picking or helping an elderly neighbour.

For many students it may daunting knowing where you are able to help but luckily there are a few websites that make searching for volunteering opportunities much easier. The Bristol City Council provides lots of information on how to help out in the wider parts of the community including volunteering in libraries and helping adults who receive care. If you want to spend some time in Bristol’s green spaces, there is plenty of information on that too.

One of the easiest ways to give back is to donate some clothes and books that you don’t wear/read anymore to the local charity shop. They always need donations, and you have the added benefit of having a nice spring clean of your wardrobe. You could always go one step further and volunteer within one of the charity shops, allowing you to gain some vital work experience in the process. Here is one such opening for the Oxfam shop opposite Wills Memorial Building directly on campus!

For animal lovers, there are opportunities available at RSPCA branches, from dog walking to running fundraisers. Now that lockdown restrictions are easing its worth keeping an eye on Bristol Zoo’s website as they run a volunteering program which could allow you to become an animal keeper!

If you would like to help out your community during the pandemic, you can volunteer from home. You may have neighbours who are shielding, self-isolating or socially distancing from others. You could offer help with shopping and other errands where you can socially distance and keep yourself well while helping others.  Whether you’ve been deployed by a charity or have decided to lend a hand to a neighbour, you can access this training, which was designed by the British Red Cross for anyone who is responding to the coronavirus outbreak.

For more information about how your university can help you find a volunteering role, visit these helpful resources:

UoB’s Volunteering and outreach page

Bristol SU’s Volunteering page

UoB’s Volunteering and internships listing page

Volunteer with Bristol hub

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