It doesn’t take much to make a difference in Bristol
Bristol is one of the most creative and diverse cities I’ve ever lived in. It’s a place where independent businesses are encouraged and more importantly – thrive. In a single area you can find people from all walks of life coming together and talking until the early hours and Bristol’s celebrities are not individuals adorned in finery, wearing the latest brands; they are long-standing DJs and Big Issue vendors with incredible characters. Yeah, I’m looking at you Jeff. You Casanova, you!
When a documentary titled, ‘Where Am I Sleeping Tonight?‘ brought to light the severity of the situation regarding homelessness in Bristol, Bristolians rallied together on social media to discuss what they could do to help. When there was a recent fire down Colston Avenue, everyone was enquiring after the welfare of the students living there. Bristolians are just an epic bunch of people really.
However, it’s vital that we transform this passion into action, directing willing volunteers towards projects which urgently need them whether it’s to serve soup on the streets or mentor children.
No matter what your talents are, there is always a way in which you can use them to make a difference and bless other people. So here are five great organisations which provide opportunities you can flex around your existing commitments. You won’t regret signing up, it may just be one of the best things you ever do.
1. Mentor a Child/Run a Youth Group for Bristol Drugs Project
Help out a family who have a history involving drugs or alcohol by mentoring a child or running a youth group for a year.
This is a great one for those of you who are outgoing and sociable. You can show these kids how great Bristol is; introduce them to activities they can get involved in and have fun with them, building up their confidence.
Mentoring will take up 3-4 hours of your time a week but you can work it around your availability. You’ll be required to attend a few training sessions but after that, you’ll be ready to get stuck in! Transport and activity costs are covered.
Get involved: Bristol Drugs Project
2. Serve Some Soup
A lot of us are familiar with the homelessness that exists in Bristol but most of us aren’t too sure about how we can help. By participating in a soup run or helping out at Wild Goose cafe you will be able to actively benefit the homeless, providing them with a warming meal whilst taking the time to actually get to know them as people.
It is incredible how much one soup run can alter your perspective of what’s important in life. Every person has their own story to tell and the story of the homeless is certainly worth listening to. Trust me.
Get involved: Bristol Soup Run Trust
3. Buy the Big Issue
— The Big Issue (@BigIssue) October 10, 2015
Are you one of those people who is always on the go? You really want to help those less fortunate than you but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day? Buying the Big Issue each month could be your way of supporting the homeless:
“Big Issue helps vendors to determine their own paths towards a better future and then connects them with local services to achieve it.”
Vendors sell the Big Issue for £2.50, that’s the same price as your mid-morning latte. Forgo the caffeine a couple of times a month and help someone build a future – a pretty worthwhile sacrifice!
Find out more: Big Issue
4. Go for a Run with a Difference
Calling all exercise enthusiasts and wannabe runners! You may have seen these guys running around Bristol a couple of times but as the name suggests, Good Gym aren’t just another running club.
Every week, Good Gym change up their running routes so that they can assist with physical tasks around the city to help benefit the community whilst also making themselves fitter. This could be weeding someone’s garden or visiting an isolated older person for a cuppa. Boost your fitness and support the local community at the same time; the best kind of multi-tasking.
Get involved: Good Gym Bristol
5. Taste Don’t Waste
— Surplus Supper Club (@surplussupper) October 12, 2015
The Surplus Supper Club was founded on the basis of reducing food waste to help the environment and taps into the creative minds of budding chefs and volunteering Bristol to turn what some disregard as waste into a culinary masterpiece.
So whether your skills lie in front of house, cooking, event management or bar service this can be a great way to build up experience and help save the environment. Win!
Get involved: Surplus Supper Club
Helping a stranger is one of the greatest things you can do with your time and with so many different opportunities, you can choose to help in a way which best suits your lifestyle and personal talents. Give it a go and see what happens!