Amid our busy lives, helping the local community should be something that everyone aspires to do regularly. Maintaining a healthy local society based on strong relationships and mutual respect is vital to people’s wellbeing, combatting feelings of loneliness and helping everyone feel supported. Never has this been more relevant than in the aftermath of a pandemic. Nearly 40% of people in the U.K. believe that Covid-19 strengthened their sense of community[i], and the community activities and relationships started in lockdown are likely to outlive the pandemic. So, for World Kindness Day this year, why not bring that sense of belonging to your community? Here are ten simple ways that you can help your community today.
A community is a group of people, typically with common interests or histories, living close to one another. Since communities tend to be relatively small – often found in villages and housing estates – everyone within a community supports each other, doing what they can to help one another and ensure that everyone is prospering. If someone is struggling, their community will step up and help them to the best of their ability.
Having a solid community to support you is very beneficial for everyone involved. Because a community is a range of people, there are many resources and services on your doorstep that you can take advantage of, just as there is plenty of assistance that you can offer in return. Some benefits of getting involved in a community include:
There are many easy things you can do to help out your community. Here are some of the most beneficial:
Volunteering is possibly the easiest way to help out the community. If you feel like you have very little to offer your town, local charities are always looking for new volunteers. They usually require help in various different capacities too. You won’t necessarily just be making transactions or replenishing shelves – some charity shops need people to run websites, photograph stock, and help out in several different ways. So don’t be afraid to approach them and find out how you can lend a hand.
Helping your neighbours (and other residents) where possible creates a strong sense of community and will allow you to ask for help in return. Completing tasks like mowing the lawn, cooking a meal, going shopping and other helpful acts for neighbours that may not be able to do so will take a weight off their mind and help them out. Although these generous acts shouldn’t be transactional, don’t be afraid to ask for help in return – this is what a community is for!
As well as offering your help and services, you should catch up with your neighbours as often as possible. Even if it’s just five minutes now and then, regularly chatting with neighbours will lift both of your spirits, combat loneliness and build a stronger community spirit.
Yes, the same type of community service that offenders are set to do. Community service isn’t just a punishment. By definition, it is work carried out to benefit the town, and doing so voluntarily helps raise community spirit. Though many jobs can contribute, examples of tasks that fall under this kind of service include litter picking, street sweeping, collecting excess food, and donating blood. Organising community service assignments will make it much more entertaining, and setting the example of a cleaner, healthier community will encourage others to be more mindful when walking your streets.
Donating old clothes, furniture, and other items that you don’t use anymore to local charities will help keep your community healthy and bring you all together to support those outside your locality. Alternatively, if someone in your community is in desperate need of something you don’t use anymore, you could donate it to them.
You can donate almost anything. As well as clothes, money, time and furniture, you could donate towards something for your community. If a local park needs a wooden bench to support those who find it hard to walk long distances, for example, you could contribute to this through funding or services.
Organising small local gatherings will bring people together. This helps the community stay in contact, and strengthens the collective sense of belonging. You could mark anything with a community event – Christmas, Halloween, Bonfire Night, Easter, Bank Holidays, jubilees, royal weddings, or just for a bit of regular fun! As long as it’s uniting the community and everyone’s having a good time, it’ll be worth it. These events don’t have to be expensive either. Consider asking community members to bring along anything that will help the running of the event. You could also ask local businesses to provide food or set up stalls so they can get support.
Some ideas for community events are:
A community supports and relies on everyone in that district, and local businesses are essential to their identity. Supporting your town’s businesses will help other members of your community thrive. It will also encourage stronger relationships, deepening the connection of your community. Also, local companies tend to use locally sourced ingredients and processes that are much more sustainable, equalling a healthier, happier community overall.
Bringing people together to raise money for local people in need, charities, businesses, and other causes is vital in a community. It will strengthen relationships, make you feel needed within the group and ensure the people or causes you are trying to help know that they can fall back on their community in the future. If you’d like to host a community event, as discussed above, but are struggling with the finances, setting up a fundraiser is the perfect solution because the entire community can pitch in and then enjoy the outcome together.
Some good fundraiser ideas include:
Bring the green-fingered members of the town together and start up a local community garden. Ensure you have the proper permissions and gather a group of engaged volunteers to help it get off the ground. A community garden is a very freeing project able to be designed and carried out exactly how you’d like, and there is a range of plants that can be grown there. Flowers, fruits, and vegetables that work well in a community garden include:
If your community garden will be growing food, the harvested produce can be put out into the community through market stalls, further supporting a healthy community.
Overall, a good community needs to be made up of good citizens. Helping others wherever you can, being consistently kind, living an eco-friendly lifestyle, working to better your community and stepping up if anyone needs you will encourage others to follow your example. Remember, though, that you are allowed to say no. If you don’t want to do something or have the means, don’t be afraid to say so. There will be plenty of other people more than ready to lend a hand in a strong community.
Having a solid community supporting you and your neighbours brings so many benefits. The sooner you can encourage that sense of belonging in your neighbourhood, the happier it will be. Get to know your neighbours and those that live a bit further out, start encouraging communication and friendship, and you’ll have your own strong, supportive community behind you in no time.
What kind of activities does your community set up? Let us know in the comments below.
Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches – a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.