Throughout this pandemic, many kind-hearted volunteers have rolled up their sleeves without fuss or faff. They have cooked, sewn, fundraised, collected, and delivered to support those in need.
They are members of small neighbourhood groups and charities which make an enormous contribution to life in Gloucestershire – and it's time that contribution was properly recognised. And no, we're not talking about a round of applause.
We're talking about reaching out and helping out.
According to the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, there are 136,000 micro or small charities in the UK* and between 600,000 to 900,000 unincorporated groups and organisations.
They provide all sorts of support, such as delivering food to the most vulnerable, picking up litter, planting trees and helping the homeless.
These small groups are often the first to recognise a need in the community and to respond to it. However, many operate on shoestring budgets and rely on a few, dedicated individuals to keep the show on the road.
As a result, even small contributions of time or money can have a significant impact.
Read on to see how we can help make a difference.
This could be in the form of hands-on labour or the provision of useful services. Many small charities are crying out for people to help with the accounts, social media, or publicity. Whatever your skillset, there will be a local group that welcomes your talents. Consider giving up a few hours a month to help them out
Organise a one-off fundraiser.
If we don't feel able to make a regular time commitment, why not arrange a raffle, silent auction, or digital pub quiz to generate funds? Get some friends involved (so we can share the load) and draw on your network of local contacts.
Devise your own sponsored sporting event.
In the absence of long-distance running, triathlon and cycling events due to Covid-19, many people are creating their own challenges. We could pledge to run 30 miles in 30 days or to clock up a ridiculous number of hours on a stationary bike. Be as creative and whacky as you dare and get training AND fundraising.
Get your business to support a local charity for a year.
By doing so, you can spread fundraising events over 12 months, and get colleagues to chip in. Having a charity of choice is an excellent way for businesses to develop community links and build team spirit within the company.
Sign up to a charity fundraising site.
EasyFundraising, AmazonSmile and The Giving Machine will make a small donation to a charity of your choice, every time you make an online purchase. Usually, they donate 0.5% of the purchase price to your chosen charity (conditions apply). While this may not seem like a lot, the tally can accumulate over time.
We can all do our bit and rise to the community challenge that the awful Covid-19 epidemic has laid down before us.
Here at Belvoir we're proud to be a part of the community in Gloucestershire and want to do all we can to help it thrive and prosper.
Thanks for reading.
*A micro charity has an income of £10,000 or less a year. A small charity is defined as having between £10,000 and £100,000 income a year.