Its only 12th January but Christmas now seems an age ago. Since this was my first Christmas at Volunteer Cornwall it was eye opening for me to see the huge commitment to the cause of our drivers over the festive period. A couple of weeks before Christmas we asked all of our drivers to let us know their availability and part of me worried that we would find ourselves short of drivers and struggle to accommodate the requests we received for help over Christmas week. I needn’t have worried. Almost all of our drivers were available to help out over the break, including a huge number who said that they were happy to take on journeys on Christmas Day itself or on New Years’ Eve. Every day here is a lesson in how much volunteers do for their community but I was really moved at the commitment of all of our volunteer drivers to help others enjoy Christmas as much as they did

 

While our drivers are year round volunteers this willingness to do something extra at Christmas is some how part of our make-up and the psychology of Christmas. Lots of voluntary groups and charities report that they get more interest in the weeks before Christmas, but see a trough in the weeks that follow. Here in the Transport Team we ourselves fell into that trap a bit, in December we did a reverse advent calendar where the team all brought in food throughout the month and took it all to Truro Food Bank for them to distribute to those in need over Christmas. Sadly it is apparently not uncommon for Food Bank donations to tail off in January leaving their reserves low, we decided therefore that we would make another group donation in January but, it is now mid January and with catching up with our work after the break we haven’t put it into action yet. Something to put right there I think.

 

If the TV and Newspapers run true to form we will see a few stories over the coming weekend, and on Monday in particular, about ‘Blue Monday’, apparently the most depressing day of the year, as Christmas fades, bank balances get low, the weather gets worse and diets break (if they ever got started). I’m always uncomfortable with this idea which trivialises what people with depression deal with every day but if you do feel a bit down over the coming days volunteering and giving are universally acknowledged as great ways of improving your sense of wellbeing. There are many ways to put something back and even if you just start the ball rolling with volunteering for something it will almost certainly improve your mood.