27 June 2019

Aaron Saxton UKFast director of training with one of UKFast's apprentices volunteering to support The Seashell Trust.

Aaron Saxton UKFast director of training with one of UKFast’s apprentices volunteering to support The Seashell Trust.

What do you want to be remembered for? For most of us, I would assume that’s wanting to be remembered for making a difference to other people’s lives. 

We all want to do good, to help others. Yet, all too often, in such a busy modern world it can be hard to balance work and personal commitments, never mind finding the time to make a positive impact on the world around you. It would be wonderful to be able to volunteer for a local cause or to spend time helping someone in need, but in reality many people simply never get around to it.

So, until you find or make that gap in your schedule to commit to a cause, how can you ensure that you’re having a positive impact on the world around you?

Make small changes

We can all make small changes to reduce our negative impact on the world around us. These could be simple adjustments to help the environment, by using reusable bottles and travel mugs for example. Switching from plastic bags to reusable bags, reducing the amount of single-use plastics and make better choices with our consumables all build to make a positive impact.

These small changes can also be in the way that you behave. I have learned over the years that you never know what someone is experiencing behind the scenes. Their social media profiles and business successes may make it look like they have it all, but in reality everyone has their own battles behind what they show to the public. When you bear this in mind, I have found that you treat people differently, you’re more forgiving, polite and more eager to help even strangers in the street. A simple mindset shift can be all it takes.

Encourage your business / work to get involved

The board and I at UKFast are continually looking at how we can not only make a positive and lasting impact on the community as a business but how we can help our team to do the same. One of my favourite ways in which we do this is our 5,000 Hours programme. As part of this we offer every member of the team a day out of the office, paid for and arranged by us, to volunteer at a number of causes in the local area. So far these have included painting fences, revamping the alpaca enclosure and gardening at the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust. We’ve also spent time gaming with Everyone Can. This charity helps to make gaming accessible for all, with specially adapted controllers and games.

If you’re a business leader, ask how you can create opportunities for your teams to volunteer or give back. If you’re working for a business, ask your board how they can provide these opportunities. We’re always here to offer advice from our experience in community work so far, just drop me a note on social media.

Make it fun

Community work doesn’t have to be something that is separate from your usual activities. If you are a keen runner, why not sign up for and gather sponsorship donations for one of the big 10k races or even a marathon? There are so many of these charity races and challenges now that you could raise hundreds of pounds and awareness for charities by changing very little of your routine, whilst also having a great time! Many of the team at UKFast run 10km races (we sponsor two in Greater Manchester) and events like Tough Mudder or Race for Life that bring something different to a traditional run.

Choose a cause

It is incredibly important to remember that you can’t be all things to all people. When we’re bombarded with TV ads, images across social media and a society that some are calling ‘virtue signalling’ it’s all too easy to feel real pressure to be a ‘better’ person. However, being under pressure in this way is never going to reap the best rewards. Instead, if you focus on something that you’re incredibly passionate about you are far more likely to make an impact.

I recently did a podcast with the first official female marathon runner, Kathrine Switzer recently. She said something simple that really resonated with me: “You cannot water the entire planet if you only have a watering can, but you can water your own garden. Let’s each do what we can do.”

UKFast Community and Education Awards

Of course, there are already people out there who are changing lives, the unsung heroes of our community. We come across these every day at UKFast in our work in the local area, and last year launched the UKFast Community and Education Awards to celebrate these extraordinary individuals. The young carers who take on more than we could imagine, the charity workers going above and beyond, and the innovators who are changing our world for the better with their ingenuity.

The deadline for the UKFast Community and Education Awards is fast approaching. If you know someone who deserves to be recognised, nominate your heroes now.

 

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