From volunteering to giving blood - 5 New Year’s resolutions which will help others during 2019

Volunteers from FIND, Ipswich's foodbank charity. Donating to a foodbank is a New Year's resolution

Volunteers from FIND, Ipswich's foodbank charity. Donating to a foodbank is a New Year's resolution that will help others. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT - Credit: Archant

Every year, many of us make New Year’s resolutions aimed at self-improvement, which quickly get broken. But, as 2019 arrives, could you make a resolution with a difference - which will help other people?

Should you make a New Year's resolution to donate blood? Picture: GETTY IMAGES/HEMERA

Should you make a New Year's resolution to donate blood? Picture: GETTY IMAGES/HEMERA - Credit: Getty Images/Hemera

The most popular resolutions include taking more exercise, losing weight and eating more healthily - perhaps by giving up chocolate and sweet treats.

But a YouGov survey last year found that, by the end of the year, 64% of people said they had not stuck to their resolutions, while only 27% said they had succeeded.

What’s more, 22% of those who had made resolutions had already broken them just six days into the year.

However, many people find that they are more motivated to stick to resolutions if they help other people. Here are five ideas for resolutions which will do just that.

1. Donate items to foodbanks and charity shops

After Christmas, many of us decide to declutter. You may have unwanted gifts, tins and packets of food you didn’t need over the festive season - so the answer is to donate to charity shop or foodbank. Rather than doing this as a one-off, you could make a resolution to donate whenever possible all through the year.

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Families in Need (FIND) in Ipswich supplies more than 5,000 food parcels over the year. You can donate via participating East of England Co-op branches, Waitrose in Futura Park and Sainsbury’s, Warren Heath.

As well as foodbanks, a huge range of charities are ready to accept your donations, including St Elizabeth Hospice, which has a network of 30 shops. It can accept donations of a wide range of items, including clothing, shoes, small electrical goods, handbags and accessories, books, toys, DVDs, CDs and vinyl. It can also collect donations of good-quality furniture.

The British Heart Foundation runs furniture and electrical stores in Ipswich and Colchester ,as well as shops selling smaller items. It offers a free collection service to pick up saleable furniture, including sofas, suites, beds, tables and chairs and electrical items, such as TVs and hi-fi equipment,

2. Give your time and talents as a volunteer

Foodbanks and charities are not only looking for donations of goods or cash, but also for people who can give up some of their time to help.

Volunteering for a charity or good cause might sound too time-consuming, but just a small amount of time each week or month can make a big difference, and is also very rewarding.

You can either contact your chosen charity direct, or you can also find many opportunities by registering as a volunteer with Community Action Suffolk. A wide range of opportunities include working with Scouts and Guides, taking part in beach clean-ups, befriending elderly people to give companionship and support, or becoming a community car driver. For more details, visit the Volunteer Suffolk website.

3. Become a blood donor

The new year is a popular time to register as a donor, and NHS Blood and Transplant wants people to consider making this their resolution. Around 200,000 new blood donors are needed every year in Suffolk, to provide a regular supply to hospitals and patients.

Donors are needed from all blood types, and there is a particular need for people from black and Asian communities to become donors. You will usually be able to give blood if you are fit and healthy and weigh between seven stone 12lb and 25 stone, The age limits are 17 to 66, or 70 if you have given blood previously.

To register, visit the NHS Blood and Transplant website.

4. Support your local school or hospital

As well as volunteering for charities, you could also help your local school or hospital. Parents, carers and volunteer helpers can listen to pupils read and support staff in various other ways, as well as helping at events. Contact your local school if you would like to know more about how you can help.

The Beanstalk charity also finds volunteers who can offer literacy support to children in local schools and nurseries. Safeguarding of children is obviously vital, so schools and nurseries will carry out checks and give training before you are able to assist.

Hospitals also have many opportunities for volunteers. East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Ipswich and Colchester Hospitals, offers volunteer roles ranging from welcoming patients and visitors to assisting at mealtimes or working with the Hospital Radio team.

5. Get sponsored and raise funds

Do you want to lose weight or take up running - but feel worried you won’t stick to this type of resolution? One way to motivate yourself is to get sponsored. Some charity campaigns are specifically aimed at people making resolutions, for instance Dryathlon, which challenges people to go dry during January and raise cash for Cancer Research UK, and Dry January, a similar challenge raising money for Alcohol Change UK.

You could also make it your New Year’s resolution to train for and take part in a particular sporting event, in aid of a good cause. For instance, if you want to make 2019 the year you become a runner, there are many different runs to choose from, ranging from small local runs to 5k or 10k runs or even marathons.

Using a charity donation platform makes it easier to manage sponsorship, by enabling donors to give direct to the charity

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