Gloucestershire is absolutely bursting with good causes, from established charities providing vital care to people across the county, to guerrilla gardeners making forgotten corners of our towns and cities a little bit brighter.
In this hot list, sponsored by Vitruvius, SoGlos shares a whopping 50 different ways you can help your community in 2021 – whether you’ve got funds, items or your time to donate.
Vitruvius is a Gloucestershire-based professional project and construction management consultancy, providing specialist project, commercial and construction management services to clients across a diverse range of sectors – from House of Fraser to Cotteswold Dairy.
Working in collaboration with clients from the very start, Vitruvius facilitates and leads projects, builds effective teams to specific project requirements, and ensures that every process is managed efficiently and logically, to achieve the clients’ brief.
1. Leave a legacy in your will to Lilian Faithfull Care
Cheltenham-based elderly and dementia care charity, Lilian Faithfull Care, is proud to provide a ‘home for life’ for every resident – with a promise that nobody will ever be asked to leave due to financial reasons. By leaving a legacy to Lilian Faithfull Care in your will, the charity can continue to provide exceptional elderly care to people who need it most.
2. Run the Cheltenham Half Marathon for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice
Take on the Cheltenham Half Marathon or Cheltenham 10k in aid of Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice. Providing expert palliative care to families across Gloucestershire, the hospice is encouraging runners to step up to raise £275 for the half marathon or £175 for the 10k – which includes a Team Incredible running vest, running club membership and support from a Team GB coach.
3. Sponsor a pet pen at Cheltenham Animal Shelter
Cheltenham Animal Shelter rescues and rehomes around 650 abandoned cats, dogs and small animals each year, with their care costing up to £750,000 a year. Sponsoring a pet pen costs £5 per month and helps to make each animal’s stay a little bit more comfortable.
4. Protect the future of Sandford Parks Lido
Cheltenham’s Grade II listed lido has been run as a charitable trust since 1996, with its team of volunteers working hard to maintain and improve the outdoor pool. The charity relies heavily on donations to make sure the pool can stay open for years to come.
5. Do some guerrilla gardening in Cheltenham
A grassroots group run by Cheltenham gardener, Harriet Best, aims to turn Cheltenham’s neglected spots of land into miniature gardens. As well as providing natural habitats for wildlife in urban areas and beautifying otherwise derelict spots, the group hopes to create a gardening community in Cheltenham.
6. Wear a clear face mask for Barnwood Trust’s Let’s Be Clear campaign
For people who rely on lip reading or facial expressions, wearing face masks due to Covid-19 has presented barriers to communication. Cheltenham’s Barnwood Trust has launched a campaign to encourage people – especially those who work in public-facing roles like shop workers, hairdressers and pharmacists – to wear clear face masks to help with communication.
7. Become a ‘bucketeer’ for Cotswold Riding for the Disabled at Cheltenham Races
Help raise money for Cotswold Riding for the Disabled Association by becoming a ‘bucketeer’ and volunteering at Cheltenham Racecourse. By grabbing a bucket and collecting donations at various race meetings, you’ll be helping Cotswold RDA to provide horse riding and sensory experiences to local disabled people.
8. Take on the Hope100 challenge for Winston’s Wish
Energetic people can help support Winston’s Wish in Cheltenham by running four miles every four hours for 24 hours as part of the Hope100 challenge in July 2021. Go solo or sign up as part of a relay team to share the load and raise vital funds for children who have been bereaved.
9. Walk miles for Maggie’s
Cancer charity, Maggie’s, is encouraging people to take part in Miles for Maggie’s this July 2021, by walking, running, cycling or swimming the distance between all the Maggie’s centres across the UK – a total of 16,659 miles! The money raised will go towards helping Maggie’s support people with cancer and their families from its beautifully designed centres – one of which is in Cheltenham.
10. Submit a photo to Cobalt’s 2021 Photography Competition
For a £2 donation per entry, budding photographers can enter medical charity Cobalt’s 2021 Photography Competition for a chance to have their image featured in the 2022 Cobalt calendar and win a spectacular prize package including a Canon EOS 2000D camera and lens. The money donated will go towards providing teenage and young adult cancer nurses. Entries close on Tuesday 31 August 2021.
11. Donate veggies to Caring for Communities and People’s Pantry Project
Offering a healthier alternative to pre-packaged food parcels, Caring for Communities and People helps households in need get fresh meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables at an affordable price from its ‘corner shop’ on Cheltenham High Street. Food donations are all gratefully received, especially from people who run allotments and have excess fruit or veg they can spare.
12. Read the news for The Cotswold Listener
The Cotswold Listener is a free talking newspaper for sight impaired people in Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and the North Cotswolds, with volunteer newsreader positions available to read and record news stories from its Cheltenham studio.
13. Make a welcome hamper for Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees
Cheltenham is officially a ‘Town of Sanctuary’ that welcomes refugees and asylum seekers from all over the world. Cheltenham Welcomes Refugees works hard to help refugee families settle into the community and supporters can put together welcome hampers for families, containing a variety of food, cleaning products and toiletries – with a full list of items available online.
14. Buy handmade crafts from the National Star shop
Students at National Star College in Cheltenham sell their handmade crafts online in the StarShop – from creating personalised mugs, handmade cards to copper glass crafts – with the money raised going towards supporting young people with complex disabilities.
15. Donate a device to No Child Left Behind
Thousands of children in Cheltenham don’t have access to a computer at home, potentially putting their education at risk. No Child Left Behind aims to help change outcomes for disadvantaged children with its #LaptopsForLearning initiative, that helps to provide computers and tablets to help local children.
16. Pay for a day of mobile cancer care from Hope For Tomorrow
Hope For Tomorrow in Tetbury provides cancer care to patients across Gloucestershire from its mobile units. Each unit costs £198 a day to run, with generous donors able to make an annual payment of £198 in one go or spread the payments across monthly instalments of £16.50.
17. Become a friend of Westonbirt Arboretum
Our forests and woodlands are one of our most valuable resources in the fight against climate change, with Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum working hard to preserve this important attraction and its incredible collection of trees. The charity, which has over 35,000 members already, provides plenty of benefits for its supporters, as well as using the money it makes to safeguard the future of the arboretum.
18. Volunteer on the Big Yellow Bus Project
Cirencester’s Big Yellow Bus Project provides a hot meal and a safe place to sleep for homeless people in Cirencester during the winter months. An hour a week to volunteer on the bus, cleaning, carrying out maintenance or even just making a cup of tea and having a chat with someone can make a huge difference to people in need.
19. Fund a footpath on the Cotswold Way
The Cotswold Way Association works to conserve and protect the Cotswold Way and surrounding environment, as well as creating and linking routes and trails to make them more accessible. Supporters can donate £30 to restore a metre of footpath from erosion, £50 to add a way mark post and £400 to replace a traditional stile with a more accessible kissing gate.
20. Sleep outside for homeless people with Cirencester Housing For Young People
Spend a night on the street to raise money for grassroots charity Cirencester Housing For Young People, which provides 24-hour supported accommodation for homeless 16 to 25-year-olds in the Cotswolds, as well as practical and emotional support to help them get back on their feet.
21. Donate food to the Forest Food Bank
Part of The Trussell Trust, the Forest Food Bank in Coleford provides food parcels to people in need, to make sure no family in the Forest of Dean goes hungry. As well as accepting food donations at its Coleford food bank, there are various donation points across the forest, including Tesco in Lydney; the Co-op in Cinderford, Coleford and Lydney; Eskimarket in Coalway; Vales Butchers in Drybrook; Kevin’s Butchers in Mitcheldean; Ruardean post office; Blakeney Fish & Chip Shop and the town council offices.
22. Donate furniture to Forest Upcycling Project
Providing affordable household goods to people in need, as well as employment opportunities for vulnerable people, Cinderford-based Forest Upcycling Project accepts donations of furniture and household goods, as well as bikes.
23. Nominate a charity for Ecclesiastical’s Movement for Good Awards
As the fourth-largest corporate donor to charity in the UK, Gloucester-based insurance company, Ecclesiastical, awards grants to charities through its Movement for Good Awards. It donates £1,000 each to 500 different charities in the first phase of the annual awards – with the public able to nominate their chosen charity. There will then be a second phase later in the year.
24. Support NHS workers at Gloucestershire Hospitals
The Covid-19 Rapid Response Appeal from Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity helps to support critical frontline NHS workers battling the Covid pandemic – providing everything from ‘boost boxes’ full of refreshments to wellbeing resources for alleviating the stress of working in high pressure environments like Covid wards and ICU. Individuals can make online donations to the appeal, while businesses can offer to donate products and resources.
25. Eat, drink and shop independent in Gloucester
Gloucester BID works hard to help businesses in the city thrive, providing valuable support and advice, as well as useful schemes like the Gloucester Gift Card – encouraging locals and visitors to support Gloucester’s independent shops, restaurants, cafés and bars. Do your bit by shopping, eating and drinking at Gloucester’s independent establishments.
26. Donate kids clothes, toys and toiletries to Gloucestershire Bundles
Providing emergency packs of clothing, equipment and toiletries to pregnant women and families, Gloucestershire Bundles provides a lifeline for people in crisis. Supporters can find a list of required items online, as well as details of designated drop off days.
27. Volunteer at Gloucester Guildhall Cinema
Gloucester Guildhall Cinema plays host to a diverse range of programming, from music and comedy events, independent films to live theatre screenings. Film-lovers with a few hours spare each week can volunteer to man the door and check tickets at screenings, in exchange for being able to watch films for free.
28. Fill a backpack for Emmaus
Providing much-needed clothing, toiletries and essentials to homeless people in Gloucestershire, Emmaus asks for donations all year round for its backpack appeal – with things like sunscreen, reusable water bottles and baseball caps most needed in summer; and thermals, sleeping bags, gloves, hats and scarves most needed in winter. Fill a backpack to help a homeless person and drop it off at Emmaus in Gloucester, Nailsworth or Stroud.
29. Buy an item from Scoo-B-Doo’s wish list for newborns and mums in Gloucester
Neonatal charity Scoo-B-Doo provides equipment to help mums and their newborns at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital – from small gifts for mums to help with feeding, up to incubators and ventilators for premature babies costing up to £20,000. Scoo-B-Doo has a wish list that people can buy to donate.
30. Cook a meal for Gloucester Feed The Hungry
Gloucester Feed The Hungry provides takeaway bags of home cooked meals for people who are struggling in the city. Businesses can donate food like fresh fruit and vegetables, while individuals can volunteer to cook or bake too.
31. Show your Pride in Gloucestershire
Celebrate your pride with a colourful parade through Gloucester City Centre on Saturday 11 September 2021 at Gloucester Pride – welcoming everyone to take part and show their support for LGBTQ+ community.
32. Trek the Brecon Beacons for Young Gloucestershire
Active people can help the county’s disadvantaged youngsters by supporting Young Gloucestershire. Take part in TrekFest to scale the Brecon Beacons this September 2021 and raise money for kids and teens in Gloucestershire.
33. Become a Hollie Helper
Raising awareness of domestic violence and stalking, the Hollie Gazzard Trust goes out to businesses, schools, colleges and universities to fundraise, provide workshops and raise awareness of the issues surrounding domestic violence. Volunteer to help the charity with a variety of tasks, including bag packing at supermarkets; selling raffle tickets; acting as a marshal at the #Walk4Hollie and talking to the public about the charity and its vital work.
34. Have coffee and cake at Roots in Gloucester
Offering ethically-sourced coffee, affordable local food and a warm welcome, head to Roots coffee in Kingsholm for your next caffeine fix. The social enterprise aims to provide a welcoming space to everyone in the community, with large tables, free WiFi and a dedicated kids area. There’s also a community hall available to hire at affordable rates.
35. Answer the phones on the GRASAC helpline
Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre operates a telephone helpline for women and girls who have suffered or are at risk of suffering sexual violence. The service is always recruiting female volunteers to answer the phones, provide an empathetic ear and a non-judgemental attitude for women and girls in Gloucester when they need it most.
36. Provide a room for the night for a young homeless person with Gloucestershire Nightstop
People with a spare room in their home can offer to become a host for Gloucestershire Nightstop, providing a young homeless person the chance to have a shower; a hot meal; a bed for the night; and breakfast the next morning. Time commitments are flexible, with hosts able to offer a room for one night or longer-term placements, with full training provided too.
37. Put your DIY or gardening skills into practice at James Hopkins Trust
Head to Kites Corner, the Gloucester-headquarters of James Hopkins Trust, to volunteer your time keeping the purpose-built multi-sensory respite centre and gardens tidy and well-maintained. The brilliant charity for life-limited, life-threatened or severely disabled children welcomes volunteers – whether you have a few hours a week or a few days in a year to spare.
38. Become a music patron of Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral is famous for its choir and has been taking strides to make choral music more accessible for children in the community – from welcoming girl choristers, to working with local primary schools on singing workshops. The cathedral is dependent on donations to continue its work in music – with becoming a music patron costing £15 a month to support the next generation of musical talent.
39. Help to restore the LV14 SULA at Gloucester Docks
As well as being a tourist attraction at the docks, Gloucester’s LV14 SULA is a registered National Historic Ship, having spent 27 years in service in the North Sea protecting mariners. There’s work to be done to restore the ship to its former glory. Owners Colin and Viv have set up a crowdfunding page for anyone who wants to support the project, with the aim of raising £6,000 to ‘Help Paint SULA Red’.
40. Become a volunteer youth work assistant with GayGlos
Providing safe spaces for Gloucester’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender young people, GayGlos is looking for youth work assistants to help run activities where the city’s LGBTQ+ youth can feel confident, while also acting a positive role model. Anyone with a few hours to spare at the weekend can apply.
41. Support The Family Haven when you sell on eBay
Gloucester’s The Family Haven provides support and assistance to disadvantaged families at its day centre. You can support The Family Haven whenever you sell an item on eBay by choosing to donate between 10 and 100 per cent of the item’s final sale price to the charity.
42. Take part in the Kingsholm Sportive for Pied Piper and Gloucester Rugby
Get on your bike to raise money for sick and disabled children across Gloucestershire. Choose from a 50, 100 or 160km cycle route starting and ending at Gloucester Rugby’s Kingsholm Stadium, with the entry fee split between both Pied Piper and the Gloucester Rugby Foundation.
43. Engage with families at Slimbridge Wetland Centre
There are numerous volunteer opportunities at the wonderful WWT’s headquarters in Slimbridge. One of them is becoming a family engagement volunteer, helping to deliver exciting nature-based activities for all ages on weekends and school holidays – and inspiring the next generation to connect with wetlands and wildlife.
44. Buy a butterfly from Longfield Hospice
Gloucestershire charity Longfield Hospice is hosting a butterfly appeal, giving people the chance to purchase a limited-edition metal butterfly in memory of a loved one. Each butterfly is custom-made and can be reserved for £25 each, with 1,000 of the butterflies being displayed at Museum in the Park in Stroud during July 2021, before being collected to take home.
45. Go clay pigeon shooting at Berkeley Castle for The Nelson Trust
Stroud-based addiction charity, The Nelson Trust, hosts an annual clay pigeon shoot and dinner at the beautiful Berkeley Castle near Stroud, providing a picturesque backdrop for a day of outdoor pursuits. The event raised over £65,000 in 2020, with tickets costing £150 for this year’s event on Thursday 19 August 2021.
46. Fight for better maternity services for women of colour with Stroud Against Racism
Stroud grassroots anti-racism organisation, Stroud Against Racism, is calling on residents to write to local MP, Siobhan Bailie, to call on the government to improve the quality of maternity provisions for women of colour. With black women more than four times likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth, the organisation hopes Stroud and its exceptional maternity provision can lead the change.
47. Support Sunflowers Suicide Support when you shop on Amazon
Sunflowers Suicide Support in Stonehouse works hard to prevent suicide and support individuals impacted by suicide in Gloucestershire. You can support its work by downloading the Amazon Smile app and designating Sunflowers as your chosen charity – meaning Amazon will donate 0.5 per cent of the value of eligible items every time you shop.
48. Regrow The Roses
Tewkesbury’s The Roses Theatre lost around 98 per cent of its sales income due to the Coronavirus pandemic, so with the theatre finally reopening to audiences in June 2021, it is asking for donations to help Regrow The Roses. A donation of just £25 can help put on a bingo session for isolated older people; £100 could provide a session for young creatives, helping eight to 25-year-olds develop new skills; while £500 could pay for a full costume for the Panto Dame (she’s behind you…)!
49. Become a member of Vale Wildlife Hospital
For just £20 per year, members of Vale Wildlife Hospital can help the charity cover its £40,000 monthly running costs and help it rescue and treat sick and injured animals – from barn owl chicks to badgers.
50. Donate books to Bookworm Tewkesbury
Independent secondhand bookshop, Bookworm Tewkesbury, sells donated books, stamps, puzzles, music and memorabilia and donates the proceeds to charities in Tewkesbury, as well as Cancer Research UK. Donate your pre-loved paperbacks for a brilliant cause.
By Chloe Gorman