5 New Ways to Help this Week (23/08/2020)

Updated: Aug 29, 2020

Each week the What Can We Do? Team add new content to the site – we keep it relevant to make sure you’re informed on the latest! But because we also know it can be overwhelming with so much information flying around, we’ve collated five new things for you to get involved in this week – whether you do one or all five, you can make a difference.

1. Did you know about literacy problems in the UK?

Some facts:

7.1 million adults in England struggle to read
1 in 11 disadvantaged children in the UK say that they don’t have a book of their own
Children born into communities with the most serious literacy challenges have some of the lowest life expectancies in England

These facts are from the National Literacy Trust, click here to read more.

These literacy issues are worsening due to the pandemic, especially for younger children. There are children suffering from school closures, social distancing, lack of internet connection, lack of teaching, lack of resources and domestic violence at home.

What can we do? We can donate and volunteer to a children's literacy charity, bookmarkreading.org.

Bookmark was started in 2018, to help every child learn to read. England has one of the lowest literacy rates in the developed world. Bookmark wants to stop this trend and ensure every child can read.

Bookmark Reading charity helps children across the UK learn how to read by creating flexible volunteering through a six-week reading programme of two 30-minute sessions each week with a child who needs support with their reading. This can be face-to-face in a local primary school, or virtually through the charity’s online platform.

They are in need of more volunteers and also need donations to help children read and choose their future. 380,000 children have been stuck in lockdown without a single book.

2. What did you do for World Humanitarian Day?

World Humanitarian Day was on Wednesday 19 August 2020. It's a day to recognise humanitarian causes, workers and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes.

On this day, we celebrate people who are helping people.

Everyone can be one of these people, all we need to do is help others and treat them with kindness. If you have been following the recent conversations around the treatment of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in Europe then you will know that humanitarian issues are closer to home than we think.

To read more about the current refugees conversation and what you can do, inform yourself with our short Spotlight blog on Refugees - it guides you to organisations you can aid by volunteering, donating, fundraising or campaigning, to help refugees and asylum seekers. 

3. So hot right now? Things are about to get even hotter...

Listen to the Podcast So Hot Right Now and learn about climate communication.

Lucy Siegle, Tom Mustil, Sir David Attenborough, Mary Robinson, Ellie Goulding and many more join the conversation. The podcast will give you ways you can help address climate change through interaction 'whether you’re phoning your dad, or the United Nations.'

Listen to the podcast to know what we need and can do right now. You have 14 episodes to choose from, each exploring a different aspect of climate communication and action.

4. Meet the charity: Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline

Switchboard offers information and a support helpline open to the LGBTQIA+ communities and beyond, for anyone who wants to talk about gender identity, sexuality, sexual health and emotional wellbeing through phone calls, instant messaging and email service and open from 10 am to 10 pm, 365 days a year.

Support Switchboard by volunteering, donating and sharing their name and number (0300 330 0630) on social media. Download and display posters and guidelines at your office or school. Share the Switchboard Emotional-Wellbeing-Support-Pack for helping anyone needing support during Covid-19 with tips on how to feel comforted and less alone during these unprecedented times. 

Check out our Voices of Change blog in which Natasha 'Tash' Walker (pronouns she/her/they/them), Co-Chair of Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline discusses Switchboard's work during Covid-19, how you can support their work and how we can all be better allies to the LGBTQIA+ community.

5. Simple switch in the bathroom - being green whilst keeping clean!

Of course our blog can’t be complete without suggesting some simple actions which benefit you and the planet!

Why don’t you try a simple swap: replace toothpaste tubes, shower gel and shampoo bottles.

Make your bathroom plastic free. Swap tubes of toothpaste for tooth powders and tablets, plastic bottles of shower gel and shampoo for soaps and shampoo bars.

You can easily find tooth powders and tablets, soaps and shampoo bars cheaply and within a simple click!- in shops such as Boots, Lush, The Plastic Free Shop, Ethical Superstore or Anything but Plastic UK and many more.

You can also help the environment by registering to join the Great British September Clean 11-27 September. Support Keep Britain Tidy by pledging to pick up litter on these dates, making a donation or fundraising.

Read more about how to be plastic bag free in our blog.

Research and article by Jennifer Pinto and Ümran Avni.

Come back again next week for more ideas about how you can get involved and make a difference. In the meantime, if you know of any initiatives in your community that you think we should promote get in touch.

Have some more time to give? Find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and at our website for more inspiration.

Do you want to be our next guest blogger for our Voices of Change blog series or want to write for our Spotlight series? Then please get in touch.

More things you might like:

The British Lebanese Association | Voices of Change The Shadow Pandemic | Spotlight On: Violence Against Women and Girls

FEAST! | Voices of Change

Hospitality Action | Voices of Change

The Big Cs | Spotlight On: Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer

Happy Space | Voices of Change

Breaking the Taboo | Spotlight On: Suicide

MASK | Voices of Change

Chit-Chat | Voices of Change

How signing petitions can make a difference

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