How to make New Year’s resolutions benefit your favourite charities!

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How to make New Year’s resolutions benefit your favourite charities!

New Year’s resolutions are supposed to be an opportunity to turn over a new leaf, start the year as you mean to go on, and to salve the conscience as the reality of those excess Christmas pounds starts to bite.

As you contemplate what waist-reducing, wallet-increasing or down-right-crazy resolutions you may want to try to keep beyond January, here are some ideas to make some of the most common resolutions benefit both you and your favourite charity.

 

Get Fit

It’s a classic. As you tuck into yet another left-over turkey meal, the ‘what-the-heck it’s only once a year’ chocolate breakfasts of Christmas 2011 come to haunt you, and you swear to get into a shape that isn’t either a) round, or b) pear.

One key to fitness success is setting goals. Find an event to aim for and run, cycle or swim away the pounds. Even better is the extra motivation of raising £s for charity.

Try one of these events in the West Midlands:

Run a half-marathon in the Great Birmingham Run  in October 2012. Many charities offer runners packs to help runners collecting sponsorship with fundraising tips and training guides – try Oxfam for example.

If you prefer two wheels to two legs, try the 75 mile Birmingham to Oxford ride  for the Jennifer Trust for Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Of course, if you’re feeling particularly brave, how about combining running, cycling and swimming in one race? The triathlon is a serious challenge but hits all the major muscle groups in one. Try a leisurely 400m swim, 20km bike and 5km run in the BCT April Sprint Triathlon in Wombourne, South Staffs, on 22nd April 2011.

 

Give up drinking/smoking

Not only will this one improve your health it can also improve your bank balance. Improve your resolve to go without that pint or that fag and decide to donate any money that you save to your favourite local charity.

Or, pay £1 into a jar every time you indulge a moment of weakness and donate the contents to charity at the end of the year.

 

Tidy out the house

Christmas can inundate you with novelty gifts, hideous sweaters and more socks than you can shake a foot at. The New Year is also the perfect time to clear the clutter of unwatched DVDs, unworn clothes, and unloved books.

There are an estimated 9,000 charity shops in theUK, all desperate for stock to help fund charity causes. Whether your favourite charities help children, animals, cancer research, hospices, or international development, you are bound to find a shop collecting and selling unwanted items in a high street near you. 

You can search for your closest charity shops online through the Charity Retail Association.

 

Turn the garden into a paradise

The flip side to tidying the house is transforming the humble back garden. Whatever your grand outdoor designs, gardens are fantastic spaces for wildlife and everyone can find space for bird-friendly additions like bird feeders or bird boxes. The RSPB online shop offers a range of bird food, feeders, and boxes and other wildlife friendly buys, with 100% of profit going to the work of the RSPB.

If you don’t have a garden, or don’t have the time, instead sponsor a tree in Birmingham’s Northfield. The Northfield Eco-centre  is trying to plant 1400 trees inNorthfieldand tree sponsorship starts from just £10, including a map marking your tree’s location.

 

Help others through volunteering

Volunteering need not take up all your time. It can also be with a wide range of organisations and a range of roles. It’s an opportunity to use skills that you have to benefit the community, or to learn something new. Make friends and make a difference.

Find a volunteering opportunity through the Birmingham Volunteer Centre or through the online Do-it volunteering database. 

 

Keep reading Charityzine

Whatever you do in 2012, Charityzine will continue to cover charity events and news across Birmingham and the West Midlands. Happy New Year!

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