December in the UK is traditionally a time for extravagance – shopping for presents, spending money on outfits, eating and drinking out more than usual. While this sort of indulgence is fun if you can afford it, the last eighteen months have taught us that there are big differences in people’s spending power, across the country, and even across our city, whether that’s the spaces we live in, what we can afford to eat, or the resources we have available to us.
Lockdown taught us how we can get by without all the little luxuries we like to treat ourselves to. Yes, we do want to see toilet roll available on the supermarket shelves, but if we can’t get hold of our favourite ice cream, is that really the end of the world?
It also gave us the chance to reflect on how precious the contact we have with our friends and family is. Taking time to engage with people can make you feel good, whether that’s just saying hello to the person at the checkout, smiling at a stranger, or remembering to send a text to a friend who is having a hard time. There is even a study by researchers at Ohio State University which suggests that giving can be beneficial to your health!
So, if you would like to reach out to others, and feel good about making a difference to someone in need, here are three easy ways you can do something positive this December:
1. Donate to the food collection box in Senate House cafe
From now until Monday 20 December you can make a donation to the food box in Senate House café which will be collected by the Trussell Trust and distributed to those in need. They would particularly like donations of soap, shampoo, shower gel, biscuits, chocolates, crisps, noodles, jam, sauces and fruit cordial.
2. Take part in community outreach sessions
The Careers Service runs community outreach sessions which not only provide opportunities to connect with members of your community, but also to learn new skills, discover your strengths, and have fun! The sessions can also count towards the Bristol PLUS Award.
3. Fill a shoebox with goodies and help Bristol’s homeless
RAG have partnered with Help Bristol’s Homeless to collect shoeboxes filled with useful items which will be given to a homeless person. Ideally you will make your box even more of a treat to open by wrapping it in giftwrap, and the preferred contents would include:
- Warm hats, scarves, gloves
- Toiletries, sanitary products
- Supermarket or Greggs vouchers
- Sweets, chocolates, snacks
- Handwarmers and lighters
Boxes can be dropped off to RAG until 15 December – collection point will be posted on the RAG webpage.
Hopefully you will enjoy participating in any of these initiatives, but don’t forget there are opportunities to get involved with projects that make a positive impact in Bristol all year round through the Volunteering & Fundraising Network.
Give it a go and enjoy the benefits to your wellbeing and self-confidence!