There are many ways in which you can volunteer as a group, whether you want to raise awareness, fundraise or help with a one-off project or event. These are just a few of our suggestions for how your group or staff team could make a difference for the community.
Choose a Charity of the Year to support
Champion a local charity by raising awareness and fundraising in your local area. It's a good idea to get in touch with the charity you would like to support as they may be able to supply you with posters, online donation pages or Tshirts.
Bear in mind though that a lot of local charities are very small (no really... we know of some charities who only have one part-time staff member who organise all their activities, volunteers, fundraising, etc.) so be patient waiting for a reply as these small charities will really appreciate your help.
Organise your own fundraising event
Hosting your own event could include anything from a quiz, wine tasting, cocktail evening or a sporting challenge like a golf day. Hold a cake stall at work and bring the whole office together to share their creations. You could even have a prize for the best cake.
Is there a bungee cord with your name on it? If you're adventurous get a team together and take on a sponsored challenge like a skydive, bungee jump, bike ride or trek. This is also a great way of team building.
Join a local or regional organised event
There are a number of annual events that you could take part in:
Knaresborough Bed Race (supporting the charity of your choice)
The Great Knaresborough Bed Race is a bit of a local institution and well worth a visit if you've never been. The Race is organised by Knaresborough Lions and takes place in June each year.
Teams compete in a fancy dress competition (there's a different theme each year). This is followed by a race pushing their bed at break neck speed up and down the cobbled streets of Knaresborough before taking a final plunge through the river Nidd. If you fancy joinging the madness entry forms are available in January and competitors are drawn in March. For full information visit www.bedrace.co.uk.
The Nidderdale Walk (supporting the charity of your choice)
Organised by The Rotary Club of Harrogate the Nidderdale Walk has been has been running for over 20 years and takes place in May each year.
A variety of different sponsored walks are available ranging from family friendly walks of a couple of miles to a gruelling 20+ mile walk (Members of our staff have completed this in aid of the Volunteer Centre. It took them so long they got a rowdy round of applause in the car park at the end... shh we never mentioned that!).
A highly recommended day out in beautiful countryside. For further information visit www.nidderdalewalk.com.
The Great North Run (supporting the charity of your choice)
The Great North Run is a half marathon which starts in Newcastle and finishes in the coastal town of South Shields. The run takes place in September each year. Participants raise money for their chosen charity by collecting sponsorship. For more information visit www.greatrun.org/north
The Great North Swim (supporting the charity of your choice)
The Great North Swim takes place in June each year in Lake Windermere. Swims range between half a mile and 5K. Participants raise money for their chosen charity by collecting sponsorship. For more information visit www.greatrun.org/great-swim/great-north-swim
Walk for Saint Michael’s Hospice
Local hospice Saint Michael's organise a number of walks and runs throughout the year. Check their website for details: www.saintmichaelshospice.org/fundraising/events
Race for Life (Cancer Research UK)
Race for Life is the largest women-only fundraising event in the UK. Check their website for local races www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/find-an-event
Harrogate Sportive (supporting Epilepsy Action)
Starting and finishing in the Harrogate, the event challenged riders to cycle either a 33-mile or 72-mile route through the Yorkshire countryside. Visit their website for more information.
Triathlon (supporting the charity of your choice)
If a half marathan and the great north swim just aren't enough for you then why not try taking part in a Triathlon. For details of your nearest triathlon visit www.uktriathlon.co.uk
Join a Conservation Volunteer Group
If you fancy getting involved in improving the local environment around Harrogate their are plenty of group activities to get involved with you could be constructing a footpath, building a fence, helping to restore natural habitats or planting trees.
The group go out on alternate Saturday mornings from 9am until 12noon and always welcome new members. It’s a wonderful way of making friends and getting some exercise!
The Biodiversity Action Group organise ad hoc conservation events in the Harrogate area in the past this has including clearing Himalayan Balsma in the Pinewoods and tree planting. You could also apply to become a Wildlife Friendly Workplace.
The National Trust is a UK conservation charity, protecting historic places and green spaces, and opening them up for ever, for everyone. The charity offer a wide variety of volunteer roles including group opportunities and employer supported volunteering opportunities. Find out more at www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
Gardening or DIY
Occasionally charities need a group of volunteers to paint a building or revamp a garden. See below for details of charities which are looking for a team of volunteers.
HELP support people to live independently in their own homes. They provide help with gardening, decorating and DIY. The gardening takes place in the summer months whereas the decorating is in the winter months. HELP have a team of regular volunteers but are also supported by small teams from local businesses who spend a day clearing a garden or decorating a room.
Take your chance on the Lottery
There are a number of charities that raise funds by running a local lottery. Why not put a syndicate together at work and take a flutter? Charities with a lottery include Yorkshire Air Ambulance,Harrogate & Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service, Martin House Hospice or Saint Michaels Hospice.