Earlier this year when the government announced that Local Charities Day would take place on 16th December this year we got mega excited. And now, with Christmas within touching distance, we’re super pumped to be able to help support local charities and community projects.
Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson said:
“I want us all to shout from the rooftops about small, local charities: their energy, commitment, expertise and the benefits they bring to their communities.”
We’re so proud that NCS does just that for charities of all sizes and this year thousands of NCSers in the North East have been busy creating social action, helping local causes and generally being amazing. In fact, a massive 241,000 volunteering hours were spent on NCS projects, helping contribute almost £1million to the local economy.
Take this group of marvellous grads as a shining example; after spending time volunteering at their local food bank they discovered that many don’t provide vital toiletries such as toothpaste and soap. Team member Jan Ahmed said: “People are going to the food bank because they can’t afford to eat – if that’s the case, there’s a higher chance they might not be able to afford hygiene products either.”
The team’s Bubble Box campaign called on friends, family and local businesses to donate items which the gang packaged up and returned to the food bank. Great work guys!
Up in Northumberland, one NCS project attracted the interest of the local council’s children’s safeguarding board. The group, made up of 15 teenagers, created the ‘Speak Up Silent Voices’ campaign and helped generate awareness into mental health, raising funds for the charity MIND in the process.
The team produced leaflets and teaching packs that they distributed to secondary schools across the county. Through a hard-hitting online video, the teenagers attracted the interest of the NHS who have asked the group to present at a national safeguarding conference with the view of rolling the campaign out across other local authority areas.
Just last week tons of North East teens were awarded and congratulated for their volunteering efforts at the PoSBOs (Positive Social Behaviour Order Awards). As you might have guessed from the name, the awards look to change the negative perceptions and stereotypes that young people often receive.
Showing that volunteering is a real team effort, one of the winners, a group of students from Hartlepool College of FE, ran a town-wide games convention using new and retro video games to engage with disengaged males, raising money for a local youth programmes in the process.
Further young people awarded at the event included young carers, those looking to bridge intergenerational gaps and others that have shown real determination and endeavour.
Charity can come in so many shapes and sizes, and there are loads of ways to get involved. Our friends over at V•Inspired have highlighted some inspiring ways to volunteer this Christmas:
Fancy putting your present wrapping skills to good use? Bloodwise North are currently looking for gift wrappers to join their team this festive period. What an ingenious way of using your talents and time to help defeat blood cancer.
Spare a thought this year for those less fortunate than yourself. Whilst you’re tucking into your Christmas dinner and opening presents, many young people are living in temporary accommodation or are struggling to scrape by.
Depaul UK are looking for young people to help out those affected by homelessness through providing support and advice, all to encourage them to re-start their lives. Now that’s the best possible gift you may want to give this year!
To support #LocalCharitiesDay you can join the government’s Thunderclap, helping spread the word across your social media.
So there you have it… we’re now combining our Christmas plans with a big dollop of social action. Local Charity Day well spent.