Give what you can: if not your time your presents

With the Christmas excesses a fresh memory, I’m sure many Kensington and Chelsea residents will have started the New Year with a determination to do something positive in 2016. That could be doing more exercise, losing a bit of weight, cutting down on the alcohol or even giving up the cigarettes.

However, whilst all the above are good options – and will more than likely end up doing you a power of good – perhaps this year’s resolution could be to do something that ends up helping others? If that appeals, you might want to think about helping out as a volunteer in one of the borough’s excellent charity shops.

We are fortunate to live in a part of London famed for fabulous shops on some of the most famous shopping streets in the country. On many of those streets, tucked in between some of the biggest high street names, you will find charity shops that exist to help a whole host of worthy causes. Off the top of my head there’s: Cancer Research UK, FARA, Greater London Fund for the Blind, Octavia Foundation, Oxfam, YMCA and Royal Trinity Hospice. But there are many others.

The efforts of these organisations are to be commended and they make a real difference to people’s lives.  Whether it’s boosting funding for research into killer diseases, supporting those nearing the end of their lives, helping those in need in faraway places or helping put a roof over someone’s head, they play a vital part in raising both the profile of the charity and raising much-needed funds.

Our own quarterly Council newspaper, Royal Borough, carries a regular feature on the volunteers who work in these shops. The purpose of this is to give the good causes publicity and to encourage readers to pop in and buy something. And it’s my guess our local charity shops have some of the best quality and most interesting stock in London.

So whilst we’re still in the first few weeks of 2016, why not pop in and see if they need some help.

I’m aware the Deputy Manager of the Oxfam shop on Kensington High Street, Corrina, needs volunteers; if keen do drop in and ask for her directly.  Also, the area manager for the Greater London Fund for the Blind, Lorraine, needs help at their new Kensington shop. Why not give her a call on 07710 033992. And Nando, who runs the British Red Cross shop on Old Church Street, Chelsea, would welcome another volunteer. His number is 020 7376 7300.

You could also check out to see what opportunities the Council can link you up with.

Of course not everyone will have the time to volunteer, but there are still ways you can give your support: buying something is one obvious way, but if Father Christmas left you presents that just aren’t your cup of tea, why not take them along to your local charity shop or to one whose cause is close to your heart.