C is for Community

Christmas is a time of year to connect with the people around you to create a sense of community. It is known as a time for giving, but this should be for more than just giving presents. It’s about giving back to the community and supporting the people around you, no matter their situation. 

You might think of Christmas as the most wonderful time of the year! Maybe you are surrounded by presents, food and your family. But sadly, this is not the case for everyone. 

Some people they don’t have a family to celebrate with. They may have all passed away or live too far away. It could be that they are homeless, don’t have much money to buy gifts or put food on the table. They may have moved to a new area where they don’t know anyone yet. Many elderly may not be able to travel anywhere. If the buses or trains aren’t running, they must stay at home instead. Christmas, for some, can be quite a lonely time.

So, giving back to the community is important to help more people enjoy the festive season and feel less alone.

What can I do to give back to the community?

You can do many different things to support your community and some you don’t have to pay a penny for. 

You can volunteer your time to support a community. A great way to do this is by volunteering for charity activities. These could include helping at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, donating presents to create present boxes, or organising a charity fun run or a bake sale.

You could support a local food bank. For a lot of people, food is one of the main things they look forward to each year at Christmas. So, you can help by donating food to your local food bank drop-off point, which you can usually find in your local supermarket. This food is turned into food parcels and given to those who need it most. 

Volunteering your time at a community dinner or soup kitchen. Giving people the opportunity to enjoy a Christmas meal can make such a difference to someone’s life. It may be the first opportunity in a while that someone has been able to enjoy a hot meal, the warmth and enjoy the company of others.

Check-in on venerable friends and neighbours to see how they are. Think about those people around you who might not have a family to reach out to. You could pop over to see them or give them a ring to provide them with a festive boost. You could even do some baking or buy festive treats to give them. Or you could invite them to your house for a meal. If they are quite isolated, you could offer to take them somewhere they struggle to get to on their own.

Organise a carol-singing event for your local community to unite and enjoy the festive cheer through song. For example, you could get a group together to go and sing for other people or organise an event for the community to attend. This could just be what someone needs to lift their spirits. 

You could organise an event to bring people together. This could be going on a walk, having a party, putting on a film night or sharing some mince pies and a Christmas drink. Having a safe space for people to have some human interaction can help them to feel less alone.

It’s time to think of those around you this Christmas, and these are a few ideas to get you started. Creating a sense of community for those around you can make all the difference. So, what will you do to bring people together this Christmas?

How does Future Toolbox help the community?

Christmas is not the only time of year we should think of our community. There are so many opportunities you can help those around you. We at Future Toolbox like to give our time and support to various community groups throughout the year. 

The Future Toolbox has run many workshops over the years for a range of family community groups. These include personal development programmes for groups such as cubs and scouts. As well as after-school and summer schools for parents and teens. We create easy-to-use life skills that are designed to help and support students to achieve their study, personal and future goals. Then, to support the students further, we help teachers and parents develop strategies and techniques to help them achieve those goals.

We believe that personal development is for all ages, and adults should never stop learning. So, through various collaborations, we have worked with several businesses and local authorities, engaging in well-being, nutrition, lifestyles, goal setting and growth mindset training. 

The Future Toolbox works with charities, including personal development workshops for people in care and social events for a cancer charity.

One of these charities is ‘Breast Friends’, which Jules is a trustee for. Having suffered from breast cancer herself, she supports others affected by breast cancer. She helps by running events such as workshops, day trips, coffee mornings and much more! 

In 2012, Mark suffered a brain injury in a freak accident. This left him with side effects including PTSD, fatigue and memory loss.

As part of his recovery, Future Toolbox has supported several brain injury community groups. These include Isebrook Hospital, Northamptonshire, Headway UK and Brain Health Breakthrough. We have run support and personal development workshops, created video resources and an online blog. We have also published our story, What The Hell Just Happened.

We are very proud to say that Mark won the Alex Richardson Achiever of the Year Award in December 2022. This is a national awards programme run by UK-wide charity Headway – the brain injury association. The award was to celebrate the outstanding achievements and contributions of people with brain injuries and those working to support them. We would like to say a big thank you to Sally Wood, our director, for nominating Mark for this award!

Sally has also been giving back to the community as she is involved in many voluntary roles. These include working with local charities, encouraging links between employers and education through her Enterprise Advisor role, and being an Area Leader for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). She is passionate about supporting small businesses and has been involved in organising numerous business functions throughout the year. These include networking events, webinars and online events, and much more to ensure small businesses’ interests are represented and supported across the Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland areas.

We are nearly at the end of another year Look back at what you have done to support and give back to a community in 2022. Whether it’s big or small, you are making a difference in someone’s life. 2023 is quickly approaching, so think about what you could do next year to make a difference and give some of your time to help someone else!

To find out more on this topic…

Listen to our ‘C is for Community’ podcast episode

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