There can be little denying that London is a vital hub for many UK-based charities; the majority of the country’s top charitable organisations have their headquarters and offices based in and around the city centre, and London is still seen by many as the most influential base for operations. London is a city capable of capturing the imagination and inspiring change, and a place in which people automatically come together with the intention of helping others. Its charity scene, as you’d imagine, is vibrant and comprehensive, covering all manner of community activities, organisations and groups of people. Indeed, if you’re looking to lend a hand, provide a shoulder or get your hands dirty, few charity scenes are as rewarding as London’s.
How can I get involved with London’s charity scene?
Regardless of your charity affiliations, passions or calling in life, there are numerous ways in which those with a little time to spare could help a charity in London. We’ve listed just a few routes into London’s charity scene below, but you may well discover an entirely different way to help somebody out…
Attend an event
London is renowned for its social scene and glamour, so it’s little wonder that so many charities choose to host their galas and balls in the capital. A Bigger Bounce, which has been raising money for Breast Cancer Now since 2013, is just one of those galas, while there are numerous comedy gigs, concerts, sporting events and dinner dances happening across the city at any given time. Attending a charity event is a great way to participate in the London charity scene, enabling revellers to raise money and profiles while having a great time. If you can’t afford the fees for some of the bigger events, consider attending a locally organised do, such as a pamper evening, open mic night or talent show; your attendance will be appreciated even more.
Could you run a marathon, walk London’s streets in the dead of night, abseil from the roof of one of the city’s buildings, or cycle through its parks for several miles? Would you bathe in a bath of baked beans, attempt to break a world skipping record or bake the world’s biggest pizza, all in aid of a fantastic cause, such as Help for Heroes? If you’re unable to dedicate your time to charity on a regular basis, consider undertaking a fundraising event, your efforts will be equally appreciated and you’ll no doubt raise valuable cash for some of the UK’s most vulnerable communities. Popular events held across London include the Prudential RideLondon, the London Marathon, the Moonwalk marathon and half marathon, and the London Triathlon. If you don’t fancy putting yourself through the paces, consider volunteering as a marshal instead.
Volunteer your time for the community
There are few better ways to get involved in London’s charity scene than to volunteer your time, whether that’s working in a charity shop, serving food at a local food bank, cooking in a soup kitchen, spending an afternoon with the elderly, managing the wildlife in your local park, helping out in a hospice or charitable facility, or volunteering to clear up the streets near where you live. Charities such as Age UK, the Royal Parks, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, and Foodcycle exist thanks to the tireless work of their volunteers; how could your time be better spent? Get in touch with an organisation such as Team London to find opportunities located nearby. Alternatively, pick a charity that’s close to your heart and offer your services as and when you’re able to.
Hit the street for homelessness
London has some of the highest rates of homelessness of any city in the UK, and the nights can be cold, lonely and incredibly dangerous for anyone choosing to bed down in its parks, doorways and open spaces. If you’ve a passion for helping people and would like to become involved in London’s charity scene, there are few better places to start than in its shelters and out on its streets; the heartbeat of London’s community is best heard in some of these places, where hope is born from very little at all. Contact streetsoflondon.org or your local homeless shelter if you’d like to get involved. You may also be able to find out more about your borough’s homeless community from your nearest church or food bank. Reach out, and you’ll find the city’s charity scene more than accommodating.
Use your skills
Above all, aim to make the most of the skills that you possess. You may be a writer, a graphic designer, web developer, marketing expert or an admin aficionado, but we’re betting that someone, somewhere, could use the talents that you take for granted on a daily basis. Indeed, many smaller charities thrive on offers of support from people just like you; there are many, many charities you may never have heard of that could use a helping hand when it comes to promoting their cause, collecting donations or simply running their day-to-day operations. Could you be using your skills for the greater good?
It couldn’t be easier to get involved with the London charity scene, whether you’d like to muck in and get your hands dirty or promote the work of those that do from the sidelines. Exciting, bold and always passionate, London’s charity scene is one that rewards its volunteers richly. Go on, take that step towards a satisfying experience and see how you could get involved today.