Give… Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and will create connections with the people around you.
Click here for some more ways to Give.
Find out about the other Six Ways to Wellbeing:
“Since I’ve done it, my confidence has come on in leaps and bounds.” For almost a year, Kevin was a volunteer IT and Job Club tutor at The Healthy Living Centre Dartford. Giving his time and sharing his skills have made a big difference to his wellbeing:
Give, Connect, Keep Learning and Be Active. Four Ways to Wellbeing. All thanks to volunteering.
Thea is training to be a breastfeeding counsellor because she’s got so much out of the Deal Breastfeeding Support Group – as a mum and as a volunteer.
“It gave me so much confidence with my children, I wanted to make sure the group was there to continue for other mums.”
“It feels really nice to give a bit back as well, for all those times when I got help and support for my two.”
“It’s really lovely when you know you’ve made a positive impact on somebody or the family. Perhaps as simple as someone having a really bad day and you know you have just cheered them up. It’s as simple as that really.”
“Quite often people will say, ‘Thanks for last week. That was really good. That was what I needed to keep me going.’”
Discover how the DBSG (www.dealbreastfeedingsupportgroup.co.uk/ourlocalgroup.html) helps other mums on our Six Ways to Wellbeing Connect page.
“I come in on my day off, so it’s all voluntary, there’s no money involved at all. I give 3 hours and for those 3 hours I’m available for anyone who wants to go through the computer..”
Rob works for the library service and is an ‘IT buddy’ at Broadstairs and Cliftonville Libraries. It’s part of Time2Give, a volunteering scheme run by Kent County Council’s library service. Rob helps other people to learn how to use a computer and surf the web:
Time2Give offers enjoyable and worthwhile volunteering opportunities across the county’s libraries. There are activities for everyone, whatever your age, experience or the amount of time you are able to give.
Interested? Follow the link: http://www.kent.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/volunteering/volunteer-in-libraries
“People are just very generous. Everybody’s busy but they find the time to help other people.” Cathy.
The Smarden Good Neighbour Scheme is run by volunteers. It’s the inspiration and energy behind the village’s Meals on Wheels service, Voluntary ‘Taxi’ Service, which takes people to Headcorn every Thursday and its ‘Gentle Health Walks’ on Monday mornings. There’s also ‘Coffee and Chat’ at the village’s Charter Hall on Mondays, if you’re feeling peckish after your stroll.
Doreen is one of many residents who uses the Voluntary Car Service to Headcorn: “Everyone who goes is very grateful for saving time and money. It goes at the same time every week, so we know what time to get ready for. They never let us down. If you need to go to the doctor or the chemist or the shops, you’ve got about an hour. They don’t mind if they have to wait for a while. They are never impatient!”
Janet is a founder member and still helps out with Meals on Wheels. She’ll be 80 in July: “One elderly gentleman said he had all these “lovely young ladies” coming in. One of these “lovely young ladies” was nearly as old as he was!”
“Because of the scheme, he was able to stay at home. The family went in to see him in the evening and visited him at weekends. Then he got his meal in the middle of the day.”
“Another lady stayed in her own home for a long, long time with the meals. It was also arranged that they could have tea. The old gentleman had a sandwich and a cake for his tea and he had the same as the children at lunchtime. The old lady used to keep her dessert for her tea and have it at teatime. And they were able to stay in their own homes for a long, long time.”
“I shall be 80 in July and I’m going to be one of these elderly people relying on these meals one day. I really do feel that it’s a fantastic thing.”
Eric sits on the scheme’s committee and is another volunteer:
“There was one lady once, who urgently needed some medication that was only available from her surgery in Charing. She didn’t drive and she hadn’t got a car and I was able to go and get the medication for her and deliver it. So it’s helping people out when there’s a problem.”
Cathy coordinates the rota for Meals on Wheels and the Voluntary Car Scheme : ‘I’m always impressed by the generosity of people. If you send out an email that says, “I haven’t got cover for Wednesday”, you get four or five replies saying, “Yes, I can do it.”
Find out more about SGNS here: www.smardenpc.kentparishes.gov.uk/
“What I feel when I’m writing a cheque is very proud. Proud that I’ve made a difference.”
When you raise money for a good cause, you’re also helping your wellbeing. Supporting others makes you feel valued.
James lives in Dartford: “I do quite a lot of things for charities. It’s really nice when you send a cheque to say, the NSPCC. It’s really good, because you know that the money you’ve raised is going to a really good cause. That gives you the ‘wow moment’, if you know what I mean.”
“One picture book always sticks out for me. I’m 32 now and I can’t have been more than a toddler. It was a book called “Owl Babies”.
Three decades later, Matthew is still sharing the stories he loved as a boy:
“I can remember being sat in a semi-circle in a children’s library at Ramsgate, looking up. I was very small, a toddler. I was looking up at the children’s librarian listening to this story. I remember how he would do all the motions of the owls and he’d flap his arms for wings, that kind of thing.”
“Do you know, I loved that book. It was a great picture book. It was fantastic. And now some of my best friends have got children and I find myself reading the same book to these children and telling it to the next generation.”
“I was what, two or three years old? So 30 years later, I am doing the same thing with the same book. To me, that is a joy. It really is.”
Want to rediscover a story you’ve enjoyed? It might be in your local library.
“I don’t think I have a secret. It’s just the way it’s done!” Emma is a volunteer for Newington Big Local. For her, sharing a recipe idea is a good way to ‘Give’.
Kathleen also enjoys swapping recipes. ‘It’s the variety. You get to taste other people’s ideas. It’s really nice.’
Kathleen worships at St Edmund’s Church Living Well, Temple Hill, Dartford. She and three friends have started a monthly lunch club, open to everyone at the church. Everyone brings a dish to share:
“I made my own shepherd’s pie. Margaret done a very nice fish pie. Others brought roast chicken. Someone brought some roast potatoes along that they’d cooked just before they came, which was very nice.”
“It’s the variety. You get to taste other people’s ideas. One week someone did a Spanish dish, paella. I’ve never made that before. It had chicken and fish and I liked all the different vegetables and the combination of the rice. I’m going to try that soon.”
Mircea, who volunteers as an IT tutor at The Healthy Living Centre Dartford.
“I enjoy helping people to learn new things. And it goes the other way round. For example, I help people to fix their computer and they help me with what information I need to write down my C.V., and the hours have grown! It was six hours every week. Right now I come every day, sometimes from nine or ten in the morning until six or seven in the evening. I always have something to do. It keeps me going and I’m happy about that.”
Here are some other ways in which you can Give:
- Cook a meal for family or friends
- Send a regular text to a friend who might be feeling isolated
- Contact a charity or community group about volunteering opportunities
- Offer your seat to someone who needs it more than you
- Give way to another driver
- Offer to help someone with a heavy bags or with their buggy down the stairs
- Open the door for someone
- Make some tasty treat to share with colleagues or neighbours
- Give compliments to your close family and children
- Tell someone ‘Well done’
- Ask if you give someone directions if they are looking lost
- Do a sponsored activity for your favourite charity
- Smile at people
- Write a thank you letter when someone has done you a kindness
- Do the washing up for someone when it’s not your turn
Click here to see some suggestions about how you can Give.
Live It Well is aiming to promote better wellbeing for Kent and Medway.
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