Charity begins at home: Britons give up 10,000 hours to help others

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This adds up to more than 13 months over the course of a lifetime. More than a third (36 percent) buy items for a food bank in their community, while three in 10 spend time with the elderly or people who feel lonely. It also emerged the average adult does 16 things a month to help others, such as donating money to charity and helping out at the local school.

The study, commissioned by British Gas, also found 55 percent of Brits have given up more of their time for others than usual in the last few months, in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

And of those, nearly two-thirds plan to keep doing so even when life returns to normal.

Simon Evans is one of more than 1,700 British Gas engineers who’ve volunteered for foodbanks across the country since March, delivering over 2,000 tons of food to those in need as part of the energy and home services provider’s partnership with the Trussell Trust.

Mr Evans said: “The pandemic has had an enormous impact on all of our lives and having lost two members of my own family to COVID-19, I know just how devastating this virus can be.

“It’s been amazing to see people from all walks of life change their attitudes towards volunteering, as people have put their own needs aside to help others, in lockdown and beyond.

“Along with many of my colleagues, I’ve been hugely privileged to offer the Trussell Trust my support, and it’s given me a real purpose during the crisis.

“I’m so proud that we’ve delivered the equivalent of four million meals to those in need.

“I’ve built some great relationships with people at the food banks and I’m keen to continue with my volunteering work in the future.”

The research also found that half of all those polled said they have been touched by the kindness of others in recent months having experienced it first-hand.

And 63 percent have been inspired by the acts of kindness they’ve read about online or in the media.

A quarter of those who have given up their time during the pandemic admitted it has made them feel humbled, while 27 percent said it has put a smile on their face.

Almost three quarters (74 percent) also feel more appreciative of the many key workers who they previously took for granted.

The study, conducted via Onepoll, found that when it comes to volunteering for a good cause, 25 percent of Brits could see themselves doing work in the community such as working in a charity shop.

A further 15 percent imagine working at a homeless shelter, 25 percent envisage themselves working at a food bank, and 12 percent would enjoy helping others through a charity phone line.

But even though nearly nine in 10 say they generally go out of their way to help others, 41 percent wish they did more.

More than two-fifths think they would be able to give up more of their time if they weren’t so busy with other commitments, and 31 percent simply don’t know what to do or how to kick start the process.

British Gas has said it will continue its relationship with the Trussell Trust after the pandemic is over, to support the organisations’ joint ambition to build a foodbank-free future for the UK.

As attention shifts from crisis response to recovery, new initiatives will include an innovative Community Champions programme, which will provide direct support to food banks and foster stronger links between Trussell Trust, Carers UK and the British Gas Energy Trust.

Top 10 ways people give up their time or help others:

1. Give money to charity

2. Shopping for a neighbour

3. Raise money for charity

4. Donate to a local food bank

5. Volunteer for a local charity

6. Spend time with the elderly or lonely

7. Litter picking

8. Help out the local school

9. Create gift box for less fortunate people – in this country or overseas

10. Volunteer for local groups helping those less fortunate

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