On Saturday, I volunteered with Serve the City. Serve the City is a fantastic organisation which exists in several cities worldwide. It is a very basic concept - it links up people who want to volunteer with local charities who need the help. There's no need to make any kind of commitment, although they will also help you to sort out more regular volunteering if you want to. They organise several focus days throughout the year, which you can sign up or even just show up to, and volunteer your Saturday afternoon. Be prepared to get your hands dirty!
Each focus day has a theme, and this week was spring cleaning. This is a day for helping charities who maybe have a room or space that can't be used because it is full of old things or needs a good clean or a lick of paint. We go in for a few hours and it's amazing what even a small team can do in that time. There are a wide range of projects - crafts with children, manicures for women in abuse shelters, language teaching for refugees and myriad others.
Last week, I helped out at a pregnancy crisis centre which helps mostly refugee women. They also help new mothers by handing on donations of second-hand equipment like prams and buggies, and these were stored in a very dusty basement room. The things did not look appetising! But after a few hours and several buckets of soapy water, they looked as good as new. Broken things are ready for the dump, everything is sorted and nicely organised, and you would not believe how well the colours have come up.
Then we all come back together, usually with chocolate involved, to comment on what we experienced and learned. It's a great day out, and somehow all the usual barriers drop and you chat like old friends with people you have never met before in your life. So sign up now for the next focus day in June!