Five ways to keep fit while giving something back

City Farms

These leafy havens are dotted all over the UK and are mostly volunteer-run. Your duties might range from general gardening and upkeep to helping out at events like summer fairs and bird-watching days.

Find your nearest at


Echo helps people, communities and organisations to share skills and time, rather than money. If you can give, say, an hour’s childcare, graphic design or gardening help, you get an hour back in return – anything from bike repairs, a supper club or a Spanish lesson. See


A series of local groups called Abundance have sprung up in Sheffield, Manchester and Oxford. Volunteers get together to pick unwanted fruit and vegetables from back gardens or public spaces, and either redistribute it or preserve it.,,


People talk to their neighbours increasingly little these days, especially in cities. This brilliantly simple website aims to get communities helping each other out again. Join up and see what is needed in your local area, from a lending someone a ladder to helping a neighbour move house.

Age UK

The value of getting old and young people together is well recognised. Both generations report being inspired by each other, while deep-set stereotypes are challenged. Age UK brings young and old together in various ways, some of which – like planting trees together – are a great way to get fit, while giving something back. For opportunities, call 0800 169 6565; see

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