The past couple of years has reminded us how much we depend on the kindness of others and what truly matters. Family, food on the table, a roof above your head, the importance of essential services and appreciation for outdoor spaces.

 

We’re all looking ahead to Christmas 2021, hoping it to be like the Christmas’ we know and plan for. But let’s keep hold of that feeling community connection gave us.

If you want to give back to your wider community, street or neighbours this Christmas period, we have a few simple (and free) things you can do.

 

Donate an old phone, give the gift of connection to someone in need

 

Do you have an old phone hidden away and forgotten about? Last year’s outdated gadget could transform one of the 7.2m peoples lives who live in ‘digital exclusion’.

The ONS (Office for National Statistics) asks, “Why does digital exclusion matter?”.

The internet is being used increasingly across all areas of life. Digital technology offers a number of benefits to the individual, which those who are digitally excluded are missing out on.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has identified five areas in which individuals who acquire basic digital skills are able to benefit:

Earnings benefits: these relate to increased earnings of between 3% and 10% through acquiring digital skills.

Employability benefits: this reflects the improved chances of finding work for someone who is unemployed and an increased likelihood that someone who is inactive will look for work.

Retail transaction benefits: shopping online has been found to be 13% cheaper on average than shopping in-store.

Communication benefits: basic digital skills can enable people to connect and communicate with family, friends and the community 14% more frequently.

Time savings: these relate to the time saved by accessing government services and banking online rather than in person, estimated to be about 30 minutes per transaction.

 

Exploring the UK’s digital divide – ONS

 

Share food & time

We all look forward to different things at Christmas, but the best part for many people is the food! With mountains of sweets and chocolates, roast potatoes, turkey, and all the trimmings, who could say no?

Share a plate with a neighbour, invite them over, spend some time with them. It’s the simplest and most impactful gift you can give, time.

 

Lend a helping hand

Do you know your neighbours? Maybe drop by an elderly neighbour’s house and offer to do their shopping, make an extra plate on Christmas/Boxing Day or even simply call someone in need. The smallest gestures can make a world of difference to somebody’s Christmas.

Check-in on people you haven’t heard from in a while and offer what you can.

 

Donate a toy

Do you have a stash of your kid’s unwanted toys hidden away? What about presents you’ve been given that you just don’t need. Instead of throwing them away or leaving them to gather dust, why not donate them to children in need?

There are plenty of kids who may be hospitalised, in children’s homes or whose families just can’t afford gifts. You could reduce waste, brighten up a Christmas and bring joy to others.

 

Whatever you decide to do, keep it simple. We all have something to offer without even realising it.