Are you a volunteer or have you ever thought of volunteering for an hour or two a week for a charity or organization? So many people who volunteer find it really helps them to stay more active, engaged and brings them into contact with new people and experiences they would not have otherwise had. Lots of the volunteers I know say they get so much out of their role, and they look forward to it, it’s even a highlight in their week.

There are so many different roles and different organisations you can work with, you could try something new, or do something you love and enjoy or are very comfortable with.

We have some wonderful volunteers, some who have not missed a week in the whole year I have been at Hope Trust, not even for a holiday! We are so grateful for all they do to help and support us, we would not be able to run all the activities we do without them.

Volunteering can be a great way to meet people, particularly if you find that difficult or are out of practice. It can be easier if you have a role to play, like making the tea, which gives you a reason and purpose for being there. It can be great fun being part of a team and making other’s day a little brighter can make yours brighter too.

We would love to have more volunteers and if you have an hour or two a week spare we would love to hear from you. We have roles for tea makers (and coffee), people who can welcome and sit and chat to others, people to play board games with others, people who can support others with very basic IT, people who enjoy crafts and could teach others. You might have another skill that we could use.

You can find out more about volunteering or Hope Trust on T: 01394 272592, M: 07845 202 112 E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website www.hopetrust.org.uk or on our Facebook page: The Hope Trust

Well can you believe that another year is over, and we are at the start of a brand new one? Do you agree that time seems to speed up as you get a little bit older, one minute it’s January, then Summer and then, before you know it, those Christmas adverts are back on the telly. How is this possible?

Do you remember when you were a child and the school holidays, especially Summer, seemed to go on forever, each day seemed sooo long. This was wonderful if you were enjoying yourself and out all day playing but torture when you were waiting for something. A day or a car journey seemed so long.

Is it because we are just really busy these days, or there is just too much to occupy our attention. So much to watch on the TV all those game shows, soaps, films and reruns. Perhaps for you, it’s the family keeping you busy helping with grandchildren or great grandchildren, wonderful, exhausting, and great to be able to ‘give them back at the end of the day’. For you it might be a hobby or sport that takes up a lot of your time and energy.

For you it might be the opposite, for all sorts of reasons those things that used to bring you joy or occupy your time might have come to an end and time stands still and drags. This can be painful and make you feel sad and lonely. Making new friends and finding new activities might be difficult for you but as a new year begins it’s the perfect time to do this.

Why not bring your new tablet or mobile to our Tuesday Tech café or learn to play cribbage or a board game that will stretch the brain and make you laugh. Or come along for hot drinks and a chat. You might consider our monthly Film Event followed by a light lunch or join some of the men at the Men’s Munch for a bacon roll.

You can find out more about Hope Trust on T: 01394 272592, M: 07845 202 112 E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website www.hopetrust.org.uk or on our Facebook page: The Hope Trust

Is this your favorite time of year or a season you really don’t look forward to at all? All the excitement on young children’s faces. All the sparkly lights and decorated trees, all those Christmas songs playing continually in the shops. All those adverts on the tele and food in the shops. All those Christmas carols and bands playing.

I think there is always a lot of pressure on everyone at Christmas, and for us all it’s probably harder this year due to the higher cost of living. The challenge for us might not just be financial it might be all the things around family, either being together or being apart or the feeling that everyone apart from us is having a really good time.

That feeling of having to have a perfect Christmas, to be happy and full of joy, to be busy shopping and cooking, to be with friends and family, it can all be so overwhelming. It can make any anxiety or loneliness we feel so much worse and leave us feeling on the outside and alone.

We all need to be extra kind to ourselves and others at this time of year as we just don’t know how we will be feeling. Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect to be special, and usually everyone will be struggling in some way behind the smiles, the tinsel and fairy lights.

There are people and groups that are here for you during this season, lots of warm space drop ins in Hubs, churches, community centers, community cafes and libraries, why don’t give them a try. Hope trust are running our usual sessions up to 23rd December and we would love to see you. We can chat about the things you love or loath about Christmas or avoid the subject and talk about something else that interests you.

Our regular sessions at Hope Trust are on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. You can find out more about Hope Trust on T: 01394 272592, M: 07845 202 112 E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website www.hopetrust.org.uk or on our Facebook page: The Hope Trust

Tracy Haskins, Charity Manager