Finding Value in Day to Day Living (1)

Find Your Ikigai Through Volunteering

Whether newly retired or feeling stuck in a rut with the daily grind, many of us are struggling to find our mojos after the disruption of the pandemic and the anxiety created by the crisis in Ukraine. But the Japanese concept of Ikigai - finding value in day-to-day living - may hold at least part of the answer.

This doesn’t mean making big dramatic changes. It can be as simple as taking steps to feel more connected to your community and those around you. Volunteering is a great way to start this process. https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/volunteering/be-a-volunteer/

  1. Start small – with so many opportunities out there, it can be hard to decide where to start and what will fit around your other commitments. Microvolunteering (small remote tasks with flexible timings) can be a great way to get a taste for volunteering without making a big regular commitment (https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/micro-volunteering/). Being part of something bigger that is making a difference gives you a real purpose. Or maybe try helping at a one off event to meet other volunteers and feel part of a group. Sign up to receive alerts about one off volunteering opportunities on our website and start your search  https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/register-volunteer/
  2. Stay local – giving back to your local community and seeing the difference you make is hugely rewarding. Whether driving local residents to medical appointments or helping with collections for the local foodbank, it’s surprising how many voluntary groups there are in your area that would gladly take new volunteers. For regular newsletters about local opportunities sign up here https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/subscribe/
  3. Find your cause – think about what matters to you and what you care about. To get the most out of your volunteering, it’s important to find something that matters to you. Not sure where to start? You can search for opportunities local to you on our website https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/volunteering/volunteer-now or speak to the team at Voluntary Support who can share opportunities that align with your interests.
  4. Reap the rewards – Once you have the right volunteering role, enjoy the benefits that it brings. It may be as simple as feeling like a valued member of your community or you may find you are able to develop new skills and friendships through your volunteering work. A fresh perspective and sense of satisfaction may soon put the spring back in your step.
  5. Share your experience – If you love the way volunteering makes you feel, be sure to tell others the difference it is making – the perfect excuse for a humblebrag. If your company doesn’t currently offer opportunities for staff to volunteer, let them know about the difference it has made for you and connect them to Voluntary Support North Surrey who can help them find ways to incorporate volunteering into their strategy.


i donated i donated I donated

Donate to foodbanks in Runnymede, Spelthorne and Surrey Heath

Local food banks need your support with donation of non-perishable food or a financial donation.


Runnymede Foodbank

Food donations to any of the food donation points

Make a financial donation via the Runnymede Foodbank website


Community Foodbank - Sunbury and Shepperton:

Food donations to Saviour's Church, 205 Vicarage Rd, Sunbury-on-Thames TW16 7TP.

Contact: community@stsaviourssunbury.org.uk

Make a financial donation at St Saviour's Sunbury Community Foodbank more information on the St Saviours Community Foodbank website

Manna Foodbank

Food donation points https://www.mannafoodbank.co.uk/where_to_donate_

Contact: info@mannafoodbank.org.uk

Make a financial donation at https://www.mannafoodbank.co.uk/how_you_can_help

Stanwell Foodbank 

Donations of food to the The Pavilion, Cambria Gardens, Stanwell, TW19 7ER

Contact: info@stanwellfoodbank.org.uk

Make a financial donation at http://www.stanwellfoodbank.org.uk/help.html

The Salvation Army – Ashford

Donations to be placed by the main door at the Community Centre, Woodthorpe Road, Ashford, TW15 3HY.  Food bank opening hours 9am - 12 midday from Monday to Friday.

Contact : staines@salvationarmy.org.uk

Financial donations by cash and cheque should be sealed in an envelope and posted through the letterbox. Anyone requiring a receipt should include their name and address in the envelope

Bags of Help, Jubilee Church Shepperton

Donations of food - box situated next to the front door at the Jubilee Centre, Manygate Lane, Shepperton, Middlesex, TW17 9EE

Contact: bagsoffood@jubileechurchshepperton.org

Surrey Heath:

Hope Hub

Donations of food to The Hope Hub Building, Rear of Library, Knoll Road, Camberley, GU15 3SY or call 01276 581174

Financial donations via https://thehopehub.org.uk/donate/

Besom Food Bank

Donations of food to High Cross Church, Knoll Rd, Camberley GU15 3SY

Financial donations via https://www.churchestogetherincamberley.org.uk/the-besom-in-camberley/

RAoK day FB

Random Acts of Kindness

In this Random Acts of Kindness week, we are all encouraged to make kindness the norm.

Take this week as an opportunity to show appreciation for those around us, notice those in need, give back to others, and to pay it forward.

Over 9 million adults in the UK are often and always lonely. You'd be amazed at how long people remember a small act of kindness - it really does make the world of difference.

Volunteer befrienders give their time to show kindness to people experiencing loneliness and isolation. Befrienders usually visit or phone lonely and isolated people once a week, to have a chat and to remind them that someone is thinking of them. The person being visited has something to look forward to and someone new to share their experiences with, and the befriender takes gets pleasure from making a difference to someone else.

Our befriending project Time to Talk encourages our befrienders to show little acts of kindness to the person they are matched with. Volunteer John visits or calls Frank on a weekly basis. For much of the day Frank is sat in an armchair looking out of the window. To give Frank something to enjoy looking at, John gave Frank a bird feeder and some bird seed. Frank now enjoys watching the birds in his garden and chatting with John about what he has seen. This little act of kindness made such a difference to Frank and John takes great pleasure in knowing this. ‘I was happy to do it’ said John, it was a little something to brighten Frank’s Day.’

Lucy made regular telephone calls to Jean throughout the first lockdown. They got on famously throughout this time chatting and when they finally met face to face, they got to know one another even better. As Jean was unlikely to see family on her birthday, Lucy was keen to organise a special treat, so she made arrangements to take Jean to the local garden Centre for tea and cake. Jean was delighted to have been remembered by Lucy on her special day and Lucy shared with us that it ‘makes her happy to know that she has made someone else happy and brightened their day.’

Lisa visited Amy every week for a number of months, In conversation, Amy shared that she had never been able to visit the grave of someone special she had lost, years ago. Lisa made the decision to surprise Amy one day, by driving her to the grave and staying with her whilst she laid flowers for the very first time. For Amy, this was a long-term wish fulfilled and a very precious moment. Our volunteer Lisa explained that for her ‘it was a small thing’ that she ‘wanted to support Amy fulfil her wish,’ ‘it was an honour’ and brought her ‘immense pleasure to be able to do it.’

We're so grateful to all volunteers who support others with their acts of kindness.

If you live in Surrey Heath find out more about Time to Talk here or Surrey-wide, there are lots of local organisations looking for volunteer befrienders - click here for some ideas or contact us for more help if you don't find what you're looking for.

Why charities need a Newsletter

Why do I need a charity newsletter?

Nonprofit newsletters get some of the best average open rates in email marketing (26%). Newsletters provide important opportunities to showcase the work you do, make appeals for donations and other support and raise awareness of the problems your charity tackles. Use your newsletter to connect with donors and volunteers, encouraging them to take action.

Email drives more charitable donations than any other online channel. 42% of donors prefer to hear from causes they support by email, 20% of donors said that emails made them more likely to donate again and 69% of subscribers said they were more likely to donate after receiving an appeal for a specific need.

Everyone gets more emails than they can ever read. A typical email receives no more than 15 seconds of attention - so make yours stand out. Use images, a good subject line and engaging opening paragraph. If a reader is not interested at the opening of your newsletter, they won’t read what comes later.

What else should you do?

  • ensure that your newsletter can be read on a mobile device.
  • personalise (use recipient names)
  • all non-profit newsletters should include a call to action - usually a request for donations, volunteers or an ask to social share
  • keep text to a minimum and focus on 1-5 stories or calls-to-action
  • have your donate button and social media icons at the top of the newsletter
  • enable social sharing
  • use images and video screenshots linking to your website or YouTube
  • send on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday - avoid Mondays and Fridays

Finally, remember you cannot email anyone without their permission, but you can build your email list by:

  • have a subscribe button on your website
  • promote through conversations with supporters
  • run a specific list building social media campaign
  • offer donors the option to subscribe in thank you messages

Subscribe to our e-news here!

More reading:





flu volunteers photo

Flu Vaccination Volunteers Make a Difference

Volunteers really do make a difference. This year we've been involved in the recruitment and scheduling of over 50 volunteer marshals at the outdoor flu vaccinations in Surrey Heath.
It has been an amazing success so far with happy volunteers:
"You are all such a delight to work for, so very easy to be willing and positive with special NHS staff 😊"
 happy patients:
"We had our flu vaccines at the Blackbushe Airfield drive though today. We booked via the surgery and have nothing but praise for the process. The stewards gave clear instructions and were very cheerful and chatty despite the ghastly weather. I hope this amazing service is available next year."
 and happy NHS:
"The volunteers are proving to be positively AMAZING! The ones I've met so far have all been wonderfully friendly, super willing, and fabulous at supporting the site and delivering their role responsibilities! I really could not be more pleased and impressed."
 We couldn't be more proud of the wonderful volunteer marshals and of our own staff who worked hard to recruit and organise them.
© Copyright 2017 Voluntary Support North Surrey. Privacy Policy. Registered Charity Incorporated Organisation Number 1141587