New Year's resolutions have existed for thousands of years - apparently, Ancient Babylonians made promises to the gods at the start of each year that they would return any borrowed objects - which still seems like a pretty good idea for a resolution! These days, the most common resolutions include gaining new skills and hobbies, supporting worthy causes, and reducing your environmental impact... so we've rounded up a few resources to help you achieve each of those goals here in Oxfordshire.
New skills and hobbies
Oxford is a brilliant place to take up hobbies, with a huge number of clubs, groups, and assorted societies and unusual sports calling the city home. Whether you're interested in fun, fitness, or making friends, there's a group out there for you. We receive listings for tonnes of classes, courses, and workshops each week, and many clubs and societies are holding open or taster sessions in the new year, including Roller Derby, Ballroom and Latin Dancing, and the Blackbird Leys Choir. They say everyone has a novel in them, and if you’re considering using the New Year as an opportunity to start working on your magnum opus, there are places left on The Writers’ Greenhouse’s next Starting Points creative writing course, which will start in February. Community Associations are also a great place to look for affordable courses: North Oxford Association’s language classes, for example, come highly recommended.
There are hundreds of opportunities to volunteer around Oxfordshire, with varying levels of time commitment required. Useful resources to find a volunteering opportunity include Community Action Groups Oxfordshire, who have a comprehensive directory of local groups which you can peruse, covering Oxfordshire in its entirety; Oxfordshire Community & Voluntary Action and Oxfordshire Volunteers, who advertise a variety of ongoing and one-off opportunities; and Team Oxford. Charities holding open days in the new year include Cogges Farm - who are looking for help on their welcome desk and in their farm shop, caring for their animals, and helping their walled garden grow.
Being More Eco-Friendly
If you’re feeling like you may have over-consumed throughout the festive season, there are loads of local organisations whose mission is to help you buy less, waste less, and connect more with the natural world. The Library of Things want to make it easier not to chuck stuff away, so they host a monthly Repair Cafe at Makespace, where you can bring along a broken item and a volunteer will see if it can be fixed for a small donation. If you’d like to undertake some projects yourself, Orinoco Scrapstore is the place to go to pick up some interesting materials to reuse in your creations. You can buy less food by growing your own: now is a good time to start your own allotment, or check out Good Food Oxford’s resources for avoiding food waste. Instead of flocking to the January sales, try going secondhand: here’s our guide to Oxford’s charity and vintage shops, and you can also pick up some bargains - and get rid of any unwanted Christmas presents - at Jumble Fever, which is happening at Oxford Town Hall on 18th Jan.
You could combine all 3 of the above with the Oxford Conservation Volunteers: develop your gardening skills, help out community projects and protect Oxfordshire’s precious countryside, in one fell swoop!