Season is a time to give

PUBLISHED: 15:51 06 December 2007 | UPDATED: 21:53 29 May 2010

THE festive season is a time for giving - not just presents and cards, but anything you can do for people in a less fortunate position than yourself. You do not need to spend a great deal of money to bring someone else happiness and the smallest acts can

THE festive season is a time for giving - not just presents and cards, but anything you can do for people in a less fortunate position than yourself.

You do not need to spend a great deal of money to bring someone else happiness and the smallest acts can make big differences to people's lives.

Why not consider doing one of the following things, to improve somebody's Christmas this year?

Volunteer: The Volunteer Centre Uttlesford is always looking for helpers, and Christmas is the perfect time to devote some of your free time to assisting others. Drivers in particular are always in demand and on a more seasonal theme, Uttlesford Crossroads is looking for carol singers to help raise money for the charity. To find out more visit www.volunteercentreuttlesford.org.uk or call the centre on 01799 513626.

Give blood: To ensure blood stocks remain, the National Blood Service is asking for blood donations to be made over Christmas.

Anyone aged 17-59, in general good health, who weighs over 7st 12lb (50kg) can start giving blood. Call the NBS helpline on 08457 711711 or visit www.blood.co.uk for more information.

- Great Dunmow: E T Foakes Memorial Hall, Stortford Road, Dunmow, on Friday December 21 from 2pm to 4pm and 5pm to 7.30pm

- Haverhill: Haverhill Arts Centre, High Street, Haverhill, on Friday December 14 from 10am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 4.30pm

- Cambridge: East Anglia Donor Centre, Long Road, Cambridge, every weekday between 8am and 4.30pm (7.45am to 1.30pm on Christmas Eve)

Shop using TheGivingMachine (TGM): TGM is a way for online shoppers to donate to charity without any extra cost to themselves and it's a great way to give to local projects at Christmas time.

TGM was set up by four fathers from Bishop's Stortford almost two years ago and it has grown to include many large companies. Each month, donations made via the click-through website are given to the beneficiaries on behalf of the shopper. Visit www.thegivingmachine.co.uk for more information.

Donate to charity shops: Saffron Walden and Dunmow both have charity shops, which always welcome donations. In Saffron Walden there is the Home Farm Trust shop, the St Clare Hospice shop, the Oxfam shop and bookshop, and the newly reopened BHF shop.

In Dunmow the selection includes the Oxfam shop, the St Clare Hospice shop and the Audrey Appleton shop - a perfect way to get rid of unwanted presents without feeling too guilty about it!

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