Check out our guide here for tips on how to find opportunities that fit you. It’s easier than you might think to get started, and Giving Tuesday might be your excuse.
And if you’re looking to volunteer specifically on Christmas day, we’ve got you covered.
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Give old furniture
Furniture is a nightmare to get rid of. Unless your phone book is full of men with ven, it can be a tricky task. But that old side table or set of chairs sitting around, inanimately begging not to be fly-tipped, could actually be useful.
There are a host of charities which will pick up old furniture for free. It’ll save a trip to the dump, and help those in need.
We’ve put together a full guide here.
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Donate to a food bank
Make no mistake: the country’s growing reliance on food banks is a grim indictment of our ability to provide security and opportunity for the most vulnerable. They’re not the answer to the country’s problems – but people are in need, and Giving Tuesday is as good a reason as any to help out.
Not only can you donate food items, but toiletries like deodorant and sanitary products are also often in high demand. Food banks will have their own lists, and you can find our guide to donating here.
Donate toys and Christmas gifts for children
With parents already facing a choice between putting the heating on and putting food on the table, the thought of buying Christmas presents can be a stressful one.
But you can help make sure a child who might not get a gift will do so. The Salvation Army is running an appeal, closing on November 30, while Lidl has also started an initiative where customers can drop new toys into “toy banks” in shops.
To find out more details, and other ways to help, check out our guide here.
Give an old winter coat
After a scorching summer and mild autumn, thoughts are turning to putting the heating on. But that’s not an option for everyone. With temperatures falling, those living on the streets will face increasing danger. Donating an unused or unwanted winter coat is a simple way to help, and to declutter your wardrobe.
The Take One Leave One campaign runs through December, with collection rails around the country. For more details, and other ways to donate, we’ve produced a guide. You can read it here.
Donate your old electronics
What’s more British than the drawer of old phones? Cracked and obsolete, the devices are kept in the faint hope they might be useful one day. Giving Tuesday could be the day to face reality.
But throwing electronics away is, as we’ve all come to realise, no good for the environment. Instead, you can donate your old items. Our guide picks out a range of organisations who will accept them, and put them to good use – from recycling to helping children without access to tech. Read it here.
Donate your old books
The best part of reading books is buying books. But there comes a point when you’ve simply got too many books on the shelves. And let’s face it, you’re never going to re-read them.
While it’s tempting to insist that, yes, this is a sophisticated type of decor, you’ll also need to make space for new books. So why not donate them? Charity shops will accept books. But the National Trust is also accepting donations. Give your books to any of the second hand bookshops at a National Trust location and the sales will help fund the organisation’s conservation work.
Take the time to have a conversation
Your giving might involve spending money – like buying the Big Issue magazine from one of our vendors. But that’s not the only way it helps. Taking the time to have a conversation can make a big difference to anybody experiencing homelessness or in other marginalised groups. It might seem small, but a greeting or a question can be hugely important in someone’s day.
“Social enterprise is about equal exchange – when you buy a magazine from our vendor, you are in an equal transaction. Their labour, your purchase, our collective uplift by our own bootstraps,” said Danyal Sattar, chief executive of Big Issue Invest, the investment arm of the Big Issue.
“The gift is in the conversation, the ‘how are you’ or ‘I missed you the other week’. So, let us be generous this Tuesday and give all of ourselves to what we would like to see happen in the world.”