RIGHT. Blog. Blog, blog, blog. I have been suffering from serious writer’s block – not only here, but in any aspect of my life in which I am required to string together a sentence. I’m deeply concerned my brain has finally given up, because of the hours I have spent wasting it’s energy on Fruit Ninja.

I thought I might try my hand at being a little more positive than usual, and talking about more productive ways to spend any spare time you might find yourself with. Not that Fruit Ninja is a waste of time, it’s freakin’ amazing.

Anyway, I know I go on a lot about how you should be out and around the country having day trips and adventures, but I’m thinking on a more regular scale here and, not to sound suddenly all moral or preachy, but I truly believe that volunteering for ANY charity is the best use of your free time. If you have any, that is. It just so happens at the moment that I am blessed with a great deal of it.

SO. Ideas for worthwhile volunteering activities in our beloved Northern Ireland.

Guides & Scouts

You might be aware that I am a Guide leader, and have been for a surprising number of years. You may look me up and down and think ‘really?’ (god knows some of the parents certainly do), but I love it. Kids are great. So sweet and funny – and surprisingly smart and aware of what’s going on around them. If religion isn’t your thing (it’s really, really not mine), then Guiding is definitely worth looking in to – the entire organisation seems to be moving away from the church more and more.

You can find information about volunteering with Guides here, and for Scouts here. There are hundreds of kids waiting to join a unit, but the majority of packs are understaffed, overworked and underfunded. Some might also appreciate donations? Just a suggestion.


Charity shops

I’ve put this in because it’s so obvious, but I have tried it in the past, and didn’t really enjoy it very much. I found working in a charity shop to be quite dull, and the other volunteers to be a few generations ahead of me, and very stuck in their ways. BUT. I would love to be proven wrong – if you are into helping out at a local charity shop, tell me about it, and call me a nasty person for bad-mouthing such valuable fundraising efforts. Or even better, if you agree with me, let’s petition charities to get younger faces in their stores and administration!


I’m pretty sure I could make a living out of planning fundraisers, I am such a freak for organisation. I’ll take paperwork and coloured pens over an alcoholic beverage any day.

That was a lie.

I admire anyone who has a hobby and occasionally uses it to raise money for a cause they feel feelings about. If I could get someone to sponsor me to read comics or play Kinect, I would be the Richard Branson of Northern Ireland by now. Unfortunately, I have no hobbies that are worth any attention at all, really. If you do, stick your neck out and do something? Someone, somewhere, will appreciate it.

Besides, people who do charity work are so much more attractive and wonderful than people who do not. If you ignore the large percentage who turn out to be serial killers looking for an alibi, or something.


I am so into this at the moment. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to make it down to any of the peace rallies around Belfast’s City Hall, but I just think they are fantastic. I wish they could make the news as much as the riots and politics, because they truly deserve to. Northern Ireland is not all idiots in balaclavas, we are a great little country, full of amazing, smart and modern people. These rallies show the world that, and encourage the locals to remember that it’s is 2013, AND WE ARE SO PAST RIOTING AND PETROL BOMBS.


I know this is technically not charity work, but it is political activism, and we need it so badly right now. Peaceful protesters – I salute you. I sincerely do.

I could say so much more about charity work, but I don’t want to go on and on. I just wanted to remind people, like me, who can’t get the full time job of their dreams, that they could be making the most of their time – you can help someone in a very direct way, while adding more and more to your CV. Selfish? I don’t think so.

Please do let me know what you think about the opportunities to make a difference in Northern Ireland – on a local, or international level. Or, let me know what you do to change your world. I’ll admire and adore you, I promise.