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05 December 2008  - 05 December 2008
UK - IVD events - Community Channel


This December, Community Channel is launching a campaign to encourage more people to give up their time to help others. The campaign Helping others can help you, will pay tribute to the community champions and volunteers across the UK and encourage more people to commit their time and sign up to volunteer.  The launch coincides with the United Nations International Volunteer Day on Friday 5 December.

After this year’s gloomy headlines around economic turmoil, ‘the credit crunch’ is a phrase that will be used in many homes this December.    This campaign aims to celebrate the gift of time over money this Christmas, and show that giving back to help other people can be a very powerful present.

The Broadcaster, Psychotherapist and Life-Coach, Christine Webber is backing this campaign to celebrate local champions and the army of volunteers across the UK who are give up their time and energy to get involved in local communities and charities. She comments:

‘Christmas can be a stressful time, but this campaign aims to show that the festive period doesn’t just have to just be about spending money.  Giving back time to help others, and doing some different activities with family or friends, as revealed in Community Channel’s 10 point plan, can put the feel good factor back into the festive period, without breaking the bank’.   

Christine also added in relation to the campaign:

'Caring for each other is one of our basic human instincts. And volunteering is one of the best ways to help people feel better about themselves.  Research shows that altruism is one of the key planks of personal happiness. When we help other people, we get a better sense of balance and community into our lives. The truth is that it feels good to be kind.   And often there is a further bonus in meeting other like-minded people among the other volunteers who might well become good friends.'  

Anyone interested in finding out about volunteering opportunities in their areas can find out more at www.communitychannel.org/you.   
   
For more inspiration on creative ways to spend time over money this December, check out the following 10 point plan:

1.    Help Others  - Get involved with a local charity or community organisation - join forces with a friend for a shared experience.  Go to www.communitychannel.org/you to find out about opportunities in your local area.
2.    Give and Take – Exchange skills in return for a favour from someone else.  Visit www.timebanking.org – where you can donate an hour of time to help someone else out and in return receive a time credit, which can be spent on support from someone else in the time bank.  This could be the perfect solution to get a job done in the home, or some help in the garden – and it's free.
3.    Get creative – A safe way to avoid Christmas crushes, long queues, and shopping nightmares, is to get creative when it comes to gifts. Homemade presents can be personal and bespoke.  Simple ideas include binding your own recipes in a book, creating a family photo album, baking a gift, making home-made chutney, or sewing or knitting a truly original gift.
4.    SWAP -  Re—gifting (old presents), re-clothing (old clothes) parties.   Organise a unique swapping opportunity, with no money changing hands and the potential to pick up some presents, or new outfits.
5.    New Year Take ups - Ahead of new year resolutions and the yearly battle to give something up, make a positive commitment to taking up a new activity. Volunteer, make a mandate to get to meet a neighbour or help an elderly person.
6.    Charity Shops – These are full of opportunities – discover a hidden gem, or give a meaningful present - via a charity gift.    Or be even more radical and consider agreeing a present amnesty and instead setting aside time to spend with a friend doing something new.  To find a charity shop in your area go to: www.charityshops.org.uk/locator.php
7.    Customise Christmas  - When it comes to festive decorations, don’t just make do and mend – customise with relish.   Invite friends round and rediscover the glue and glitter, creating bespoke Christmas decorations and cards for the festive period.   
8.    Home entertainment – Eating in can be fun and the perfect Christmas gift for friends.   Rediscover board games, cards and devise menus where each guest brings a dish.  Or make your own pop-corn and settle down to a classic movie.
9.    Home and away - Desperate for a change of scene this Christmas, then consider house swapping, trading in your home comforts with a friend in another part of the UK for a budget busting festive mini-break.
10.    Rediscover the great outdoors - It’s free and good for the soul – get out and about walking, discovering local parks and burning off the extra Christmas calories.  

For further information please contact Penny Crook on 0207 217 3743 or pennyc@communitychannel.org