Volunteering: By Sue Palmer from the Volunteer Centre at Bossard House, West Street, Leighton Buzzard...
For over 20 years, October 25 has been the USA’s Make a Difference Day, when volunteers unite with a common mission; to improve the lives of others. Here in the UK, we like to go a little bit further than our American cousins and we celebrate CSV’s Make a Difference Month throughout the whole of October.
CSV (Community Service Volunteers), in partnership with organisations across the UK and Europe, helps people to build stronger communities. Its website www.csv.org.uk has volunteering ideas for everyone.
As the days shorten, plans for the festive season are underway and October is the perfect time to register your interest in charitable Christmas projects. It may seem early, but this allows time for induction and training.
If you have a day or two a week to spare, the National Trust’s Gateway Centre on Dunstable Downs has a full calendar of events, such as pudding stirring, wreath making and enchanted trails, and they are wasting no time in enlisting helpers. The last day of recruitment is November 9 to allow volunteers time to familiarise themselves with their roles.
For those more inclined to a one-off effort, Leighton Buzzard’s annual Santa Dash on Saturday, November 29 raises valuable funds for local charity KidsOut. This 2.5-mile fun run, organised by Leighton Fun Runners, is open to people of all ages and abilities and offers a medal for all finishers. Visit www.leightonfunrunners.org.uk or pick up a form from the KidsOut office in Church Square. This is the first year that sponsor forms are available too, so register early to allow plenty of time for collecting pledges.
Even those who prefer to stay at home in the warm can start gathering items in a shoe box, and make a simple present for an under-privileged child through Operation Christmas Child’s annual campaign. Boxes need be left at a local collection point (see www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk for your nearest one) no later than November 18.
For more information on volunteering, give Volunteer Centre Central Bedfordshire a call on 01525 850559.