Have you found yourself asking, how can I volunteer and help my local community this Christmas? Whether it’s volunteering your time, supporting local causes and businesses or donating money, there are plenty of ways to help. This year our community needs our support more than ever and we have some great ideas for how everyone can get involved.

Support your local foodbanks and charities

Most supermarkets have a collection point for local foodbanks where you can deposit shopping after you’ve checked out. However, if you are avoiding going into shops, there are alternate ways to give support. You can locate your local foodbank and find out more about supporting them through the pandemic and Christmas period. Many are now taking cash donations, helping them keep the lights on and re-stock their supplies.

Surviving Christmas is also a great local organisation. It aims to relieve hardship and supports those in need across Hastings and the Rother District, during the festive period.

Help your community stay connected

Many people in our community experience loneliness over the festive period. However, after months of self-isolating and social distancing, we are seeing an increase in people feeling disconnected and alone. Staying connected is vital to good wellbeing, so consider reaching out (safely) to a family member or neighbour you suspect may be struggling. You could drop over some shopping and have a social distanced chat on the doorstep or give them a phone call. There are also services across the country that are helping volunteers to support isolated members of the community:

Shop local this Christmas

2020 has also been tough on local businesses, so consider buying your presents from the small and locally owned. East Sussex has an abundance of amazing local businesses that will value every penny they receive. Perhaps picking up stocking fillers from the giftshop in town or a gift voucher to that little salon.

If you’re concerned about venturing out, many businesses have online shops you can order from (some with free local delivery). However, you can also show your support by following local businesses on social media and sharing their content with friends.

Be safe and protect your community

With a unique Christmas fast approaching, it’s important we remember the key message of hands, face, space. Continue to follow guidance around face coverings, using hand sanitizer and keeping your distance from those outside your bubble. For more information on keeping yourself and your community safe from Covid-19, check out The run up to Christmas.

How do you plan to help support your local community this Christmas? Whether you volunteer, shop local or drop some baked beans off for the foodbank – let us know in the comments!