06 June 2017

Making a difference in your community

Has the upcoming election got you thinking about ways to get involved in your community? Here’s some ideas that don’t involve becoming an MP.

Has the General Election on June 8th got you hoping things might change for the better – and thinking about other ways you could try to make a difference? If you've ever wondered how you could get involved in helping your local community, here are some ideas – and you won't even need to wear a rosette:

Become a school governor

Governors play key roles in running schools and colleges across the UK. Their job is to create a strategy aimed at getting the best out of staff and pupils, hold the headteacher to account and make sure the school budget is well managed. Many schools are desperate to fill vacancies for governors, if you're interested in applying.

Train as a special police constable

Once qualified, 'Specials', as they're known in the force, have the same powers as regular officers and wear a similar uniform. More importantly, they can forge a crucial link between your local police force and your local community. Special police constables volunteer for at least four hours a week and can find themselves doing anything from walking the beat to providing security at events.

Become a volunteer worker

From hospitals to libraries, you might be amazed just how many organisations in your area rely on the support of volunteers. Volunteering Matters, formerly known as Community Service Volunteers, offers dozens of openings for people interested in working with the young, disabled, families and older people. You could be helping in a primary school, listening to children read; running a knitting group, making items for those in need; or doing the shopping for an isolated person.

Mentor someone

Ever thought about what it would take to help an ex-soldier adapt to civilian life? You could get in touch with Timebank, an organisation that recruits and train volunteers to deliver mentoring projects to tackle complex social problems. You could be passing on your skills on to an unemployed person, preparing them for a job interview; or helping a young person leaving care and getting to grips with independent living.

Give time to rescued animals

You don't have to adopt to help a rescue animal. The Dogs Trust needs help cleaning kennels and people willing to spend some time with dogs waiting for a new home. Meanwhile, the RSPCA is looking for temporary foster carers for its PetRetreat scheme. Here, you'll be looking after a pet whose owner has suffered from domestic abuse. Once the owner has settled in a safe place their pet will be returned.

Plant more trees

If you work with a local school, nursery, scout group, cricket club or other community group with its own outside space, you could apply for one of the Woodland Trust's free tree packs and organise a group to help you to plant all the free shrubs and saplings you'll get. Their vision is to make sure everyone in the UK has a chance to plant a tree!

Be active at Nationwide

Nationwide Building Society is owned by its members. And as a member, you can have your say on how we're run and what we should be doing for local communities.

You can put your questions and suggestions to a Nationwide director at one of our regular regional Member Talkback sessions, or you can post them here, where you can see some of the ongoing conversation with members.

You could also come to our next Annual General Meeting, at 11am on Thursday 20 July 2017 at The International Convention Centre in Birmingham on Broad Street, B1 2EA, and put your questions and ideas to the Nationwide board in person.

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