The day started with me pouring water over myself just after I got dressed and having to start all over again. I have just dropped jam from a hastily snaffled doughnut all down my arm and have had to have a wash. I have to go out in a minute. I am dreading what I will do out in the population at large.
I’m putting it off a bit longer by writing this.
Apologies to those long term readers, if there are any of you left, who came here looking for laughs. I don’t have many at the moment and I’m sorry if any of you find the timbre of my new posts too preachy. It is, however, what it is. While I continue to find myself staring in horror at the news that unrolls in front of me every day, I need to keep writing posts like these for myself, if not for anyone else.
Someone a few days ago said in a comment what could she do as a pensioner to help? I’m not going to focus solely on pensioners, but I am going to bung down here a list of ways that you can help and not all of them require money, or mobility. There are probably thousands more. The world is going to hell in a hand basket. There’s no shortage of things. I wrote a list like this post Brexit. There’s no harm in doing it again though.
If you want to be involved in a campaign but haven’t got the time, mobility to march, attend meetings etc, could you raise awareness online? Could you be a point of reference for all the names and addresses of people who want to help? Could you help co-ordinate communication and plans?
If you want a campaign or a project, Facebook is a great place to search. Lots of local community projects have Facebook pages or groups that you can join. I had an idea last week that it would be really good to have a central point for all information about groups that help the homeless or needy in Leicester. I searched Facebook. Someone has already done it. It was a great relief. I joined the group and have already been given a million ideas for how I can help or what I can donate and where.
If you have donations but can’t drop them off if you ask the group you want to donate to, someone may be able to pick them up for you.
Could you help in a school? As long as you have an up to date CRB check (I know they’re called something else now) you can go along and help out. They’re always looking for support. You could go on trips, listen to readers, help out with art, offer IT support. Our local primary is always looking for people to help out with Forest School sessions and with keeping the school garden neat if you’re more of an outdoors person.
Could you help Age Concern with IT drop in sessions? There are lots of initiatives like this around that help the older generations get on the internet.
Could you join your local GP surgery Patient group (PPG)? They are always looking for new people and an active PPG can do a huge amount for their patients.
Could you volunteer to read for adult groups in care homes and other settings? You could also set up book groups. Various societies for the blind often look for readers to help out in their local area.
Could you start a community group that uses your local library and keep your library busy so that it stands less chance of being shut down. My mum used to go regularly to a knit and stitch group on a Monday morning. She loved it. She met new friends, actually finished some knitting projects, and it helped the library too.
If your library is run by a volunteer group, could you volunteer and help to keep it going?
Could you donate to your local food bank, or volunteer to help out one afternoon a week?
Could you offer cookery classes? Our school runs after school cookery classes for families to replace old fashioned domestic science classes. They’re really popular and there is always a waiting list. Could you do this? Could you offer to do it as part of a food bank set up?
Could you set up a soup kitchen type thing to feed homeless people or people waiting for a food bank parcel in line?
Could you fill a shoebox for a refugee child or a homeless person to help them this Christmas/winter?
Could you support an adult literacy scheme and help teach someone to read? Illiteracy is a growing problem in the UK, believe it or not.
In Leicester there is something called the Junk Food Project. It’s a community project run by volunteers who take donations of out of date food from supermarkets etc and run a cafe three or four times a week using up that food. Everyone is fed and you just pay what you can afford. It’s really successful. Could you volunteer at one near you or set up something similar, or know someone who might want to donate to keep something like this going?
Could you offer some of your garden to someone waiting for an allotment if you don’t want it? There are all sorts of land share initiatives going where you can register and find a match. If there isn’t one near you, but you like the idea, can you start one with the help of your local council? They might have some funds or even some land they can’t afford to keep up on their own any more. If you already work an allotment, could you work with others on the allotments to give surplus to food banks or places like the junk food project?
I keep asking ‘could you’. The answer is always yes, you could.