Our Welfare Caseworkers spend all their time extending offers of kindness to beneficiaries as they navigate unforeseen and difficult events that impact on their quality of life. While they provide solutions that meet people’s everyday needs, our caseworkers understand that it is often the small acts of kindness that can make such a big difference.
So who better than to share ten small acts of kindness we can all do to make a huge difference to our communities, each other and to ourselves, than Welfare Services Lead Carrie Pearce?
“Showing empathy to another person’s situation and supporting them through the tough times is one of the simplest, but most impactful acts of kindness there is,” says Carrie. “So here are my ten suggestions for things we can all do to make the world just that little bit kinder.”
1. Help the homeless: More and more people are sleeping rough. Thousands are thought to be living outdoors with no access to essentials such as shelter, warmth or hot foot. If you’ve been having a clear out, consider donating hats, scarves, coats, blankets or non-perishable food to a homeless charity or night shelter near you.
2. Check in with others: It has been a tough couple of years for everyone, but the holiday period is often more difficult than most. Social isolation and loneliness remain huge issues and it’s not just in elderly people, with loneliness an increasing issue in people aged between 17 and 25. Make time to check in with friends, family, colleagues and neighbours to see how they’re doing.
3. Share the burden: The financial worries of hosting seasonal events when you’re already on a budget can be a huge cause of stress, so take the pressure off yourself. If you’re spending Christmas with other households, divide up jobs or courses among all those attending to share some of the strain, and have conversations with your family about realistic gift expectations.
4. Donate your time: Can you volunteer your time with a local organisation? There are many people in our communities for whom volunteer-led local support is a desperately-needed lifeline. Could you help sort donations at a local food bank, or pick up prescriptions for an elderly charity? Or maybe you could volunteer your time as a telephone befriender for lonely people.
5. Reach out: Why not enlist friends and family in gathering small hampers or shoe boxes for vulnerable members of your community? Or find what local appeals are going on in your area and what steps they’re asking people to take, whether that’s donating spare change, gathering toiletries for families on the breadline, or donating unwanted presents for their Christmas Day giveaway.
6. Make contact in the community: In the UK, there are 12 million people aged over 65 and 11 million people living with limiting long-term health conditions or disability. Many of these people live alone or rely on family, who may be unable to visit. Maybe you could put a note through their door to see if they need help with anything that you can do. Possibly their garden is the only bit of outdoor space they have access to and would appreciate your help giving it a quick spruce?
7. Be kind to yourself: This may not be a concept that comes naturally to many of us, but taking a bit of time out of each day for some self care might just be the best thing you could do for your own wellbeing. Maybe it’s reading a magazine or sitting quietly in the garden. It could be having a hot bath or taking a detour through a park on your walk home. Or it could be sitting down to eat your dinner, rather than grabbing something on the go. It’s about taking an active role in protecting our own sense of wellbeing, doing something kind for ourselves.
8. Small gestures of kindness: We all spend our lives rushing around and barley noticing what’s going on around us or other people, take time to say “hello” to a stranger, let someone go in front of you in the supermarket queue, help with carrying someone’s bags or simply pay a compliment – you’ll be surprised what a difference this can make to someone and how good it makes you feel.
9. Fundraise: Why not organise some fundraising at your station, workplace or in your street, even something small like a table top sale or a sponsored event and get your whole community involved. What a great way to spend time with friends old and new and raise a little money for a good cause. And if you’re looking for a cause to support, why not consider making a donation to our Charity?
10. Make a gift for the future. While you’re thinking about kind gestures in the world at the moment, have you thought about how you could leave the world a better place? A gift in your will is one of the most incredible gestures you can make to support the Charity, and it costs you nothing to do. So once you’ve taken care of your friends and family, why not consider leaving a legacy that will be there for future generations? Find out more about leaving a gift in your will here.
Don’t forget, if something is affecting your daily wellbeing and you could do with a little kindness yourself, our Welfare Caseworkers are here to support you. Find out more about how we could help your social wellbeing here, or if you’d like to speak to our caseworkers, get in touch. Contact our Support Line on 0800 389 8820, make an enquiry online or register for MyFFC and visit the ‘Access Support’ tab.