Most of us start the year with intentions to do something good, make a change, get into better habits. So with that in mind, here are some ways you can make a difference on your doorstep.

Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments, or tell us what you’ve been doing to help your neighbours and make Bristol that bit better!

Get outside

Charity work

There is a multitude of great charities in Bristol, I’ve listed a few below, but you can find additional volunteering opportunities and paid charity work on Voscur, as well as on

  • Julian Trust
    Volunteer at their night shelter, or get involved with fundraising activities.
  • Bristol Drugs Project
    I’ve taken part in their youth mentoring project, but you can also lead youth groups and get involved with various other projects.
  • Second Step
    Be a mentor or befriender to people with mental health problems, or be part of one of the activity groups run by the chairty.
  • The Big Issue
    Do your part at their local distribution centre, and help raise awareness.
  • Brandon Trust
    Be a volunteer buddy or appropriate adult, or help out in one of their shops.
  • Fareshare
    Distribute food to those who need it most – donate food, fundraise or be a volunteer for their food centres & delivery services.
  • Emmaus
    Help provide those in need with furniture & homewares – lots of volunteer roles including driving, bookkeeping, mending furniture and cooking.
  • Bristol Bike Project
    Join their workshop team or help run groups & courses for those less privileged in the city.
  • Food Cycle
    Get involved in one of their many volunteer projects to reduce food waste & food poverty.
  • Contact the Elderly
    Spend time with elderly people who feel lonely or isolated.
  • Springboard
    Give young SEN children support by providing skills & fun learning environments.
  • The Cinnamon Trust
    They always need volunteer dog walkers and pet sitters for the elderly.

Join a community

  • The Cube Cinema
    A volunteer-run community cinema in Stokes Croft with a great programme of events, so you can be an usher, work behind the bar or help with maintenance.
  • Helpfulpeeps
    Share your time, skills and knowledge with those who need it near you.
  • Neighourhood forums
    Find a variety of local community projects, partnerships & groups on the City Council website.
  • Neighbourly 
    Handy site for finding & starting projects to collaborate with your neighbours.
  • Bristol Pound
    Use our local currency to support independent businesses (they’re also really pretty).
  • Street Bank
    Share items with your neighbours, or find out if they have what you need!
  • Couchsurfing 
    Take part in meet ups & activities, host visitors for free or show them around this lush city of ours!
  • Olio
    An app to donate surplus food or use it; you can also volunteer to spread the word about their service, or suggest that your workplace donates any leftovers.

Suspended coffee

This is a quick and cheap way to do something kind – a suspended coffee is when you pay for an extra coffee which can then be given to someone in need who can’t afford one. Here is a list of places in town currently involved in the scheme:

  • Cafe Lazz, Gloucester Road
  • Cafe Vero, City Centre
  • Cornish Bakehouse (The Galleries)
  • Edna’s Kitchen, Castle Park
  • Five Grains, City Centre
  • The Kitchen (also do suspended food), City Centre
  • Playground Coffee Co, City Centre
  • Poco, Stokes Croft
  • Roll for the Soul, City Centre
  • Tinto Lounge, Gloucester Road

Often to be found propping up a bar and eyeing up its rum selection, Shonette is an avid Bristol explorer and food muncher - take a look at her blog A Life Less Organised for her guides to the city's best pub crawls, roasts and more.

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