3 Ways to Connect with your Community

It’s easy to feel disconnected during the winter months. When the weather is bad it’s even more difficult to motivate yourself to step outside. As a result, finding new ways to connect with people can be extremely difficult, and in a digital age it can be hard to know where to start. During the winter months especially, making sure you connect with people who make you happy can be an important step towards protecting your mental wellbeing. 

We’ve pulled together some ways in which you can get outside and connect with people in your local area, through shared interests, volunteer schemes, or mutual support groups.

There is no right or wrong answer, so if you’d rather stay at home there are online options too for you to explore. 

So, if you’re keen to make new connections, where can you start?

Connect through community initiatives

1 – Warm Welcome

You may have heard about warm spaces, an initiative to encourage people to find warmth and connection outside of their own home. You can find them all over the UK, and the aim is, quite simply, to support people struggling with the increasing cost of heating bills by offering a warm place to spend time.

The Warm Welcome offers a way to find warm spaces near you, through their interactive map and ongoing campaign to engage more organisations in the initiative. Originally set up by the Good Faith Partnership, the Warm Welcome describes themselves as a ‘movement for a fairer and friendlier society by supporting warm and welcoming spaces in every community in the UK’, which we think is much needed.

Warm spaces don’t just tackle the challenge of heating bills. They are also a great way for people to connect on a social level without the need for a particular interest. A cup of tea and an open attitude is all that’s required! This can help reduce isolation and protect mental health, particularly through the winter months. You may find other outlets through the group, such as gardening projects or skills that you can learn or share. 

You can find your nearest warm space on the Warm Welcome website.

Connect through volunteering

2 – Use your Skills

If you’re someone who likes to keep busy, you may wish to offer your time volunteering for a local cause. There are thousands of charities all competing for your attention, but if you know what it is you’d like to contribute you can narrow it down. Here are some ideas of how you can share your precious time, and benefit in the process.


No matter where you live, there will be a group nearby dedicated to wildlife conservation. Even in the most urban environment, you will find a way to support animals, insects and natural habitats in a meaningful way. Getting outside, even in bad weather, is beneficial for your mood and your general wellbeing, according to research 1.

Bring online connections to life

There is a new era of support, through online groups making space for members to meet in person and support each other. Andy’s Man Club has been designed for just that purpose, and their stapline is ‘It’s ok to talk’ – we whole-heartedly agree!

The charity aims simply to offer a judgement-free space for men to meet up and discuss issues in order to support improved mental health and wellbeing. Meetups are free to attend each week for men aged over 18 – you can visit their website to find your nearest group. They offer tea and a biscuit too! 

Support your local hospital

We all spend way too much time at the doctors, or at hospitals. But… what if you could help NHS staff and other patients by volunteering? Your local hospital will likely have a person who coordinates all of the volunteers and their roles, to ensure you have the support and training you need to carry out your chosen role. 

Hospitals are often in need of volunteers to provide company for patients on the wards, gain feedback from patients and their families, or through short-term or long-term carer roles.

Enquire at your nearest hospital to find out more.

Connect together

Volunteer at a Food Bank

The number of people relying on foodbanks is increasing, and with it the demand for people to run them. The Trussel Trust offers a handy map to find your local food banks, and you can pop along to enquire or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau to find out which food banks need volunteers. And similar organisations such as FoodCycle offer meals at many locations around the UK to anyone who needs them. You may even use a foodbank already, so perhaps you can offer your skills at the same time picking up those essentials? 

Search on the Citizen’s Advice 2 website for Volunteering Opportunities in your local area.

You can also gain support from your local Council for things like energy and water bills, clothes, food, or other essentials. Find out more

3 – Connect online

Virtual Village Hall

The Royal Voluntary Service matches people and skills with organisations or causes who need them. This enables you to find something that truly resonates, and can amplify that ‘feel good factor’. Find out more and get involved here.

If you’d rather stay in the comfort of your own home, you can try their Virtual Village Hall with regular talks and craft workshops that you can benefit from remotely. They even run baking workshops and exercise classes so there really is something for everyone!

Visit the Virtual Village Hall for yourself.

Bladder & Bowel Support Group

Peer Support Group

Bladder & Bowel Community Support Group offers a space for discussion online that is specific to bladder and bowel health. The group is monitored by admins during the day, and offers a vital resource for peer support that is otherwise much more difficult to find. 

It can be very isolating living with a bladder or bowel condition. Just knowing that others out there have experienced something similar can provide reassurance.

You can join and get an idea of how the group works, but it’s always nice to introduce yourself and say hello, and perhaps ask a question to the group – you’ll receive a very warm welcome!

Found out more about the group here, or click here to join directly.


1 – University of Washington – Why you should still go outside when the weather sucks

2 – Citizens Advice – https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk