Eating ice cream, going to the seaside, avoiding sunburn and having as many BBQs as humanly possible… they’re all 100% guaranteed primo summer holiday activities. But six weeks is a pretty long time, so I’m guessing you might be looking for a few other things to fill the days with. Maybe something to level up your karma? Something that gets you meeting new people? Well, what a crazy coincidence (actually I totally planned this) because I just so happen to have a great idea: join one of your local community groups.
Now, I know, you see ‘community groups’ you think old ladies sat in the village hall or groups of parents tutting about teenagers using the ramp outside the shopping centre to skate on. I’m going to take an educated guess that that situation doesn’t appeal to you. Me neither. But thanks to Millennials and Gen Z folks being super-caring, socially aware angels, loads of community groups have popped up that are 1. appealing to younger people and 2. actually cool.
If the whole thing is new to you, let me get you started with a handful of community groups to get involved with this summer.
No. Not those gorillas. Guerillas. As in people who do things their own way and who don’t bother waiting round for permission. You could say someone who does graffiti is a guerrilla artist, for example. But you wouldn’t be spraying your name on park walls, you’d be planting flowers. Maybe there’s a patch of weedy grass on your local high street or a row of trees lining the path that look like they could use some floral company. You and your fellow GGs would go out armed with trowels, plant some flowers and leave knowing you’ve made the world a brighter, better place.
If you’re lucky enough to live by the sea, firstly, I’m very jealous but secondly and most importantly, this could be the community group for you. As a lot of us know by now, ocean plastic pollution is a big problem and we need to do all we can to avoid and reduce it. One way to do that is by joining your local beach cleaning group. You’ll need a rubbish bag, some gloves or a litter picker and some love for the environment. Bottom line, yes it’s picking up rubbish but you’ll meet loads of super-enthusiastic people and you’ll help our planet. Win win, tbh!
It’s a sad fact that a lot of people in the UK are lonely. Whether they’re older and don’t have friends and family around, unable to leave the house or not in a position to meet people, it’s something that can affect many people. But you can help. By being a volunteer friend, you’ll meet with lonely people; chatting, laughing, just spending time really. It can be as little as half an hour out of your week but it can be all the difference in the world to someone who needs a friend.
Are you amazing at coding? Brilliant at writing? Whatever your skills and talents, you can bet that someone else would seriously benefit from learning from you. Your bike fixing skills could help someone get to work or make someone whose family can’t buy them a new bike really happy. Your sewing skills could start a local fashion revolution and your internet skills could help an older person stay in touch with friends and family. Never under estimate the power of what you know!
If you’re more of a food person than a flower fan, why not see if there’s a community allotment nearby? They’re great places to learn all about growing your own (serious life skill right there) plus they’re often havens for disadvantaged or vulnerable people, so as well as learning something new, you’ll also be helping to maintain a totally vital local scheme.
For a lot of us, food on the table is pretty much a guaranteed thing. But for too many it isn’t and, when people can’t afford the weekly supermarket trip, they rely on food banks. Almost always run by volunteers, they’re a lifeline to a lot of people. Of course, you’ll feel great for helping out but you’ll also meet loads of wonderful people – both other volunteers and the people who use the food bank.
Period poverty has been in the news a lot recently and it’s a phrase used to describe the fact that women and girls can’t afford sanitary supplies like pads and tampons. In response, community groups are popping up all over the place to collect and distribute sanitary products to those who need them. We’re working hard at betty to collect donations of pads and tampons, and you can help too – just use the prepaid bag in every bettybox to send back any leftover pads and tampons, which we’ll then redistribute to women and girls in need.
Did you know that those cool, local markets where you can buy Insta-perfect ceramics, vegan soap, stonebaked pizzas and house plants are usually arranged by volunteers? Yep! They’re always a good place to hang out and there are loads of actually fun jobs you can do to help out, from designing the flyers to helping choose which makers, chefs and business owners will make your market the place to be.
Netball, football, tennis, darts (fine, maybe not darts), why not join your local team this summer? They can work in loads of different ways; raising money at games and matches, teaching the local kids, creating much needed sports events for underrepresented people or just repping your community. However your local team do things, join up!