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These are five things you can do every day, when you’re out and about, to make a difference to people’s lives…


1 Smile

Smiling is infectious. It makes you feel happy… and it can make other people’s day too. It’s contagious: Sharing a smile is a great way to spread happiness around you. It costs nothing – and everyone can do it. And did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you’ll live — and that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being? Click here to watch Ron Gutman’s quick talk on The Hidden Power of Smiling


2 Say a kind word

A kind word can go a long way. A compliment can really lift another person. Why not make a conscious effort to say something nice to someone today – even a complete stranger. We asked Nottingham’s Primary Parliament to come up with a list of kind, positive words. They gave us a whole A to Z! Click here to read the A to Z of kind words.


3 Give up a seat

Why not let someone else take the weight-off for a few minutes? It could be on the bus, on the tram, on the train – even in the park. Especially if the other person looks elderly or frail… or if they’ve had a really tough day! It’s a simple act that shows you’re thinking of others. As well as giving up seats, we’re encouraging older people to Take a Seat when they’re out and about. Click here to read more


4 Pick up litter

Nothing makes our city and our neighbourhoods look more uncared for and unloved than litter. You’re never really very far from a bin, so there’s no excuse to drop rubbish. But even more than that, if you spot something on the floor, why not pick it up and put it in the bin? As well as the everyday, out-and-about acts you could even join or set-up your own litter picking group. In Nottingham, we have Clean Champions. Find out how you can join their ranks here.


5 Do an act of kindness

Go on! Get the ultimate sense of ‘Do Good, Feel Good’. Do something kind for someone else today: free tea, free coffee, buy a sandwich for a stranger, free hugs! There’s loads of ways to Pay it Forward. Doing a good deed for someone else is also more likely to inspire them to do a good deed in turn. It’s a ripple effect. There’s loads of ideas on the official website.



Got five minutes and a phone? Got battery? Got 3G, 4G or wi-fi – then away you go. On the bus, in your lunch break, in the queue. It doesn’t take long to make a difference.


6 Phone a friend or elderly relative (don’t just text)

We all text. It’s so quick and simple. But how about making time for a proper chat? Especially for someone who maybe hasn’t had someone to talk to. May be your nan or grandad? Or your mum or dad? Or a friend you only normally connect with by liking their posts on Facebook. Even if it’s for five to 10 minutes – letting someone you know you’re thinking of them can make a huge difference.


7 Microvolunteering

Microvolunteering is all about little actions to support charities and voluntary sector organisations. Most of these can be done in your own time whenever you want to, and lots of them can be done from a SmartPhone. Nottingham CVS has loads of great ways to help here.


8 Sign-up to support Click Nottingham

Click Nottingham helps people click, enables communities to click and is instrumental in society clicking to become kinder, more caring, empathetic and sustainable. Click Nottingham is all about bringing people together and helping them feel more connected and confident. If you’ve got five minutes, find out more about how to sign up here.


9 Donate to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting scheme that was launched in America by the singer. The charity helps parents and children to enjoy exploring books together – looking at the pictures, talking about the stories and just having fun. Now partners in Nottingham are working together to make sure every Nottingham child from 0-5 years old can get a free book delivered to their home each month. A one off donation of just £25 you will be paying for one child to receive these wonderful books delivered to their home each month for an entire year! Visit the website for more details.


10 Support Nottingham Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a way to raise money, awareness and support for a project, from the people around you. It’s a means of funding that allows individuals to make their ideas a reality with the power of the crowd. Crowdfunding enables people with great ideas to raise the money they need, in return for ‘rewards’. The public can back your idea with pledges of money and project owners can ‘thank’ their backers with rewards that reflect the money contributed. You can find out about Crowdfunder projects in Nottingham here.



Good deeds close to home make a huge difference to all around you – especially elderly people who might be on their own and need a little extra help with some of the everyday things in life.


11 Make time for your neighbours


Getting to know the people who live nearby helps create a sense of belonging and shared identity in our local area. It also helps to strengthen connections and trust in our wider communities and contributes to a happier neighbourhood for everyone. Our lives are often so busy we don't get to connect with the people who live close to us. This is especially true in big cities, where everyone comes and goes at different times and new neighbours move in and out. Don’t know how to start? There are some great tips here.


12 Extra place for dinner


Older, isolated people often need a hand cooking for themselves, so why not take round an extra plate of hot home-cooked food, or a frozen portion they can heat up or microwave? As well as being practical, it’s a nice way to share your time with a neighbour. Try to provide the meal in a container that you don't need back – it’s hard work for both of you to keep track of serving bowls. Here are some quick and easy recipes you could try here.


13 Help with an elderly neighbour with shopping


Do you know an older person who lives alone, rarely leaves the house, has recently suffered a bereavement, is in poor health, disabled, has sight or hearing loss, or doesn't seem to have close family living nearby? Ask them if they need any help with tasks such as shopping, posting letters, picking up prescriptions and medicines or dog-walking. Offer to accompany them or give them a lift to, activities or doctors' and hospital appointments, the library, hairdressers or faith services.


14 Pull out all the bins


This is so simple – but it can make the world of difference to someone who might struggle with a heavy wheelie bin. If you’re new to your neighbourhood, you can find out when your bin days are here.


15 Gardening and tidying


Another simple one, that just requires a bit of thought. If you know someone who struggles to get out and about, then why not lend a hand in their garden. It might be that when you mow your lawn, you pop round and do a neighbour’s too? Or a spot of weeding and tidying up fallen leaves in the autumn? Age UK has more helpful advice



We need #ActiveHeroes to help make an even bigger impact on the lives of others. You’ll need to devote a little more time, perhaps on a more regular basis, but these some of the ways that will really make a difference.


16 Get fundraising

Bake sales, fun runs, headshaves, baths filled with beans… no matter how wacky, how weird or how challenging you decide to go, fundraising makes a huge difference to charities around Nottingham and beyond. You can get loads of great ideas for how to raise money for a good cause here. And if you don’t have time, you can find good causes to support here.


17 Join a Timebank

Timebanks are a brilliant way of using your skills to help others. You simply ‘deposit’ your activity in ‘hours’ which are then ‘banked’ and can be ‘withdrawn’ when you need help with something yourself. Everyone’s time is equal, so one hour of your time is equal to one hour of someone else’s time, irrespective of whatever you choose to exchange. Because timebanks are just systems of exchange, they can be used in an almost endless variety of settings. You can find out more about the Nottingham timebank here.


18 Be a Rally Round co-ordinator

Rally Round is a FREE online service which makes it easy for friends and family to come together and help a loved one stay safe and well at home. Rally Round enables family members, friends and carers to create and organise support for someone they care about. Rally Round was designed to help frail older people and/or their family carers, but it can be used to help anyone who is vulnerable and needs more practical support. Find out more here: https://www.rallyroundme.com/welcome


19 Sign up as a school governor

School governors work as part of a team supporting the school and head teacher to decide the schools policy, help the school to recruit staff and manage budgets.  To do this the governing body will meet once each term for a period of four years. The meetings traditionally take place after school. We need people who have energy, enthusiasm and fresh ideas to support our schools. You don't need to have had any previous experience or knowledge. Common sense, a genuine interest in education and commitment are the most important qualities that we're looking for. The role can provide opportunities to develop your knowledge, skills and experience in areas such as education policy, financial management, interviewing and chairing skills and speaking in public. You’ll also have the satisfaction of making a positive contribution to your local school and community. Find out more here.


20 Help at an activity group

These definitely need more commitment. Youth groups, Scout groups, activities for the elderly – they all need helpers and leaders to commit to regular sessions. It could be once a month, or even once a week. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be making a real difference to the lives of others. If you go to this website and search under ‘Nottingham’, you’ll find a load of groups and organisations that need your help.



21 Foster with Nottingham City Council

You can make the biggest difference to a child by providing a loving, stable foster home. We have children of all ages and from a diverse range of backgrounds who need foster homes. Being in foster care allows children to experience a childhood they have lost or may never have had. A safe, stable and loving environment provide a strong foundation which can give children and young people the chance to aspire to great things. We urgently need new carers, especially those interested in offering long term placements to teenagers and those able to offer a home to sibling groups or children with complex needs. Our foster carers are approved to care for children and young people from birth to 18 to provide flexibility so that we can meet the needs of children who come into care. Find out more here.


22 Become a family mentor

Family Mentors are at the heart of Small Steps Big Changes - a Big Lottery Funded Programme to improve the lives of 0-3 years olds. The programme focuses on children, parents and communities in Arboretum, Aspley, Bulwell and St Ann’s. People are needed to help mentor and support families to make improvements in their lives. They will be supported and guided by professionals, taking SSBC activities into family homes and co-delivering group sessions and activities in the community. Find out more here.


23 Support Safe Families for Children

Safe Families for Children works hand-in-hand with children’s services to link families in need with local volunteers who can offer them help and support. When a crisis strikes a family with children, its effects can be devastating. Many of us would turn to relatives and friends for support but some families can be really isolated with nobody there to help them. Stabilising families before they reach a breaking point is key to reducing the number of children who need to go into care. Safe Families provides Family Friends, Host Families and Resource Friends to help while parents get back on their feet. Click here to find out more.


24 Become a befriender

Befriending is one of the best ways that you can help someone who is lonely, isolated or can’t get out or around. There are lots of organisations in the city which run befriending schemes.  Click here or simply Google “Befriending in Nottingham”.  You can really make a huge difference to someone’s life by becoming a volunteer befriender.


25 Adopt a child

Could you provide the stability of a permanent home for a child in need? All adopters must be able to provide a safe, healthy and nurturing home for a child. Some qualities are the same as those asked of any parent but there are extra qualities needed to care and bring up a child who is not born into your family. There are lots of misconceptions about who can adopt. If you're over the age of 21 and can provide a permanent, stable and caring home to a child or children in our care we would welcome your enquiry. Find out more here.

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Registered Office: 7 Mansfield Road,
Nottingham, NG1 3FB

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