Are you interested in becoming more active in your community?
An active citizen is someone who cares about their community. Being an active citizen involves supporting your local community (or beyond). This can be done in a number of ways, and will probably involve some form of volunteering.
Being an active citizen is what you make of it! It can involve just a couple of hours a week taking an elderly person shopping or can be taking the lead to make your housing estate a cleaner, safer environment for everybody to enjoy. Being an active citizen means making a difference. All you need is a desire to see your community change or improve and lots of enthusiasm.
We asked a number of people in Lambeth what they thought an active citizen was… here are some of the answers they gave:
‘Someone who gets involved’
‘Someone who gives back to their community’
‘Representing your community by having a say and speaking up for others’
‘Someone who acts to change something’
‘An active citizen is a person that cares for others in their local community, shows they can be involved and committed’
‘Active citizens are people who believe we all count, and individually and together, we can make a difference’
‘One who cares about their community and doesn’t just sit and wait – they do things’
‘Somebody: active, compassionate, willing and strives for more for all’
Active citizenship is not about nationality. You do not need to be a British national to hold a UK passport to be active.
Why become an active citizen?
Being active in your community is not just about giving: it’s a two-way exchange of skills and experience. Many people get involved for different reasons:
- Gain new skills
- Build confidence, self esteem and gives structure to life
- Ease yourself back into work and try out a new area of work
- Build up contacts to help find a paid job, get a reference
- Stop your skills going rusty
- Improve your English
- Get used to an office environment
- Meet new people
- Improve relations between different communities in your area
- Help people
- Experience different cultures
- Influence/change something in your local area, make your local area a better place to live
- Have fun!
What different types of ‘active citizen’ are there?
- Management committee member / trustee
- School governor
- Member of a tenants and residents association
- Founder on an organisation
- Good neighbor
- And many more…
Thinking about getting active in the community?
If you think you might want to get active in your community, the most important thing to do is to decide why you personally want to get involved and what you want to gain from your experience. Many people feel that they have to volunteer just to “do good” or “give something back” but you can also look to gain specific skills. At the end of the day, you need to enjoy what you are giving your time to.
It’s a good idea to sit down and write a list of reasons why you want to get active in the community. Here are some things to get you thinking:
- If you want to help people, who do you mean? (E.g. local residents in your area who are campaigning to get something done, young people, people with disabilities).
- If you want to gain experience and skills, what experience or skills? (E.g. confidence to speak up at a public meeting, skills to produce an information leaflet, office skills, experience of outdoor work, catering).
For further information, see LVAC's 'How to Guides' on:
Or for information on volunteering opportunities in Lambeth, contact Volunteer Centre Lambeth on 020 7326 5480 or email email@example.com.