“The principle of give and take; that is diplomacy—give one and take ten” — Mark Twain
But was Mark Twain right? There are times when it certainly seems so. The world can sometimes feel full of people who live by that maxim. For them it’s all about taking. But don’t let that make you lose your faith in humanity. The world, thank goodness, is also full of people who believe that, it pays to be nice. But which is the better strategy. Who wins in the end? Is it better to take or to give?
I am firmly of the belief that it is much better to be a giver than a taker. Giving can take any number of forms and one thing that they all have in common is that the giver does not expect anything in return. The following list of synonyms gives a hint at the range of ways we can give:
Advancement, advice, advocacy, alleviation, allowance, assist, assistance, attention, backing, backup, benefaction, benefit, benevolence, bounty, care, charity, comfort, compassion, cooperation, deliverance, encouragement, endowment, favour, furtherance, gift, guidance, hand, handout, leg up, lift, ministration, ministry, patronage, promotion, reinforcement, relief, rescue, reward, salvation, service, shot in the arm, subsidy, sustenance, treatment, volunteer.
Some require more effort and commitment than others. A word or two of encouragement, assisting someone with a heavy load, giving someone your full attention when someone is speaking to you all cost nothing and take no time at all.
In this week’s Blog I am going to focus on just three; charity, gift and volunteer.
As Mayor, I have the opportunity to nominate a charity or two as the focus of my fundraising efforts during my term of office. Deciding which charity to lend my support is a very difficult decision with so many excellent and worthy charities operating within Bridport. This year the two charities I have nominated are Harmony and The Living Tree because they are both providing hugely valuable support to people going through an extremely challenging period in their life.
Harmony – because the Covid pandemic has resulted in a marked increase the number of people suffering from much needed place where individuals can seek expert, non judgemental support.
The Living Tree – because cancer sufferers have been particularly badly hit by the backlog in diagnosis and treatment caused by the pressure on the NHS due to the Covid pandemic. It is a self-help support group for people who have experienced cancer and for their families/carers. Members are all at different stages of cancer – some recently diagnosed, others undergoing treatment, some in remission, others post-cancer.
You can give your support by donating to the Mayor’s Charity fund by bank transfer:
Sort code 20-26-62 Account no 80036552
or by Cheque, made payable to Bridport Town Council, and send it to Mayors Charity c/o Mountfield, Bridport, DT6 3JP.
Whether gifting by bank transfer or cheque please mark your donation Mayor’s Charity.
If, like me, you are now of an age where you are in receipt of winter fuel allowance, a gift from the government, paid automatically during November and December to those eligible. The winter fuel allowance is an essential part of making the lives of many people more bearable by enabling them to heat their homes with less worry, whilst for others it represents a free cherry on top of the thick icing on an already rich financial cake, please consider donating all or part of it using the methods outlined above.
Christmas is a time for giving. A well chosen present, gifted to someone of any age, brings delight to the recipient, and pleasure to the giver. In fact I now get greater pleasure from giving than receiving and nothing can top seeing the joy on my grandchildren’s faces as they tear off the wrapping to reveal a much sought after present.
Here in Bridport, finding the right gift for a person could not be easier. Bridport is blessed with a fantastic range of independent shops to browse through and choose from. Add to that the Wednesday and Saturday markets, the St Michaels Art and Vintage quarter and we are truly spoilt for choice.
When it comes to making that gift choice, by shopping locally you are making a great first choice. By shopping locally you are supporting the local businesses that make Bridport such a great place to live. We still have a vibrant high street and long may it continue. By shopping locally you are supporting the local economy and employment, Did you know that it is estimated that for every £10 spent locally £40 is created in local employment.
Thinking about the ethical and environmental impact a potential gift may have, is for me another important decision when choosing a gift. Locally made is something I like to look out for, and here again we are blessed with a huge number of artisans and craftspeople producing an amazing range of products right on our doorstep.
On Wednesday 8th December I will have the honour of switching on the Christmas lights at 6.00pm in Bucky Doo Square, and I will be following it by a bit of late night shopping.
I am really looking forward to visiting some of my favourite shops to seek out those special gifts for those very special people in my life.
Volunteering is important because it enables people to help others in a selfless way. When a person volunteers they may choose to help people, support philanthropic causes, engage in environmentally based activities, and /or provide assistance to their local community. Additionally, volunteering benefits everyone and is a terrific way to have a positive impact in your community.
Furthermore, volunteering is important for many valuable charities because they may depend solely on volunteer work in order to operate. The charity is then able to remain operational, while the volunteers are able to help those in need.
Bridport has a tremendous track record of volunteering. During the Covid pandemic over 170 people signed up to volunteer their time to shop, collect prescriptions and other essentials as part of the Bridport Coronavirus Community Support group. Without the support of over 250 volunteers the Bridport Medical Centre would not have been able to deliver the first and second Covid vaccinations so quickly and efficiently.
Many retirees who move into the area, myself included, volunteer for one or more local groups. The benefits to the volunteer include: meeting new people, social interaction, building and maintaining interpersonal skills, promoting personal good health and wellbeing, and the enhancement of self worth and happiness. I know from personal experience all of the benefits I have listed really happen. My involvement as a volunteer with a number of different voluntary groups has enabled me to lead a much richer and rewarding life pre and post retirement.
Volunteering opportunities range from becoming a Magistrate to having a regular cup of tea and a chat with an elderly person living alone. There is something for everyone, outdoors or indoors, social or practical you are literally spoilt for choice.
If you are thinking about volunteering I urge you to take the plunge. Make it your New Years resolution for 2022 to become a volunteer. But where and how do I find out about where I can volunteer I hear you asking.
In January 2022 I will be hosting a virtual Volunteer Showcase. The aim of the session is to provide organisations looking to attract volunteers with the opportunity to showcase what they do in 3 minutes whilst prospective new recruits look on and decide where they would like to become involved.
If you would like to take part in the virtual Volunteer Showcase as either an Organisation seeking new recruits or as an individual looking to volunteer email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org council with your contact details and a brief description of what you are seeking.
At the beginning of this Blog I posed the question – Is it better to give or to take? I am now going to ask you another question – Do you consider yourself a giver or a taker?
And Finally – a poem by Roger McGough
Give and Take
I give you clean air
You give me poisonous gas.
I give you mountains
You give me quarries.
I give you pure snow
You give me acid rain.
I give you spring fountains
You give me toxic canals.
I give you a butterfly
You gave me a plastic bottle.
I give you a blackbird
You gave me a stealth bomber.
I give you abundance
You give me waste.
I give you one last chance
You give me excuse after excuse.