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Embracing Your Role in the Community

Becoming a British citizen or settling in the UK brings both responsibilities and opportunities. As a citizen, you have the chance to actively participate in your community and contribute to its well-being. This section provides information on the responsibilities of being a citizen and offers guidance on how you can help make your community a better place to live and work.

Values and Responsibilities

Despite its diverse society, there are shared values and responsibilities in Britain that are universally accepted. These values and responsibilities include:

  • Obeying and respecting the law
  • Being aware of the rights of others and respecting those rights
  • Treating others with fairness
  • Behaving responsibly
  • Helping and protecting your family
  • Respecting and preserving the environment
  • Treating everyone equally, regardless of sex, race, religion, age, disability, class, or sexual orientation
  • Working to provide for yourself and your family
  • Helping others
  • Voting in local and national government elections
Embracing these values and responsibilities will contribute to your active participation as a full citizen.

Being a good Neighbour

When you move into a new house or apartment, it's important to introduce yourself to your neighbors. Building relationships with your neighbors helps you become part of the community and make friends. They can also provide assistance, such as looking after your pets when you're away or offering advice on local services and shops.
Respecting your neighbors' privacy and keeping noise levels to a minimum can help prevent conflicts and problems. It's also important to maintain a tidy garden and only place your refuse bags and bins on the street or communal areas when it's time for collection.

Getting involved in Local Activities

Volunteering and actively participating in your community are essential aspects of being a responsible citizen. By engaging in local activities, you have the opportunity to connect with others and contribute to the betterment of your community. Supporting one another is key to creating a positive and thriving community, and it allows you to fulfill your civic duties and help those in need.

How you can Support your Community?

There are various ways in which you can actively support your community and demonstrate good citizenship.

Jury Service

Jury service is an important civic duty that individuals may be called upon to fulfill. Randomly selected from the electoral register, individuals aged 18 to 70 (18 to 75 in England and Wales) have the opportunity to serve on a jury. Participating in jury service allows citizens to play a crucial role in the legal system by impartially considering evidence and reaching a verdict in criminal trials. It is a fundamental part of upholding justice and ensuring a fair trial for all individuals involved.
If you are summoned for jury service, it is important to respond promptly and attend the designated court as directed. Your participation as a juror contributes to the functioning of the justice system and helps safeguard the principles of fairness and impartiality in the legal process.
Serving on a jury is an opportunity to make a direct impact on the administration of justice and uphold the values of a democratic society.

Helping in Schools

If you have children, there are many ways in which you can help at their schools. Parents can often help in classrooms, by supporting activities or listening to children read.
Many schools organise events to raise money for extra equipment or out-of-school activities. Activities might include book sales, toy sales, or bringing food to sell. You might have good ideas of your own for raising money. Sometimes events are organised by parent-teacher associations (PTAs). Volunteering to help with their events or joining the association is a way of doing something good for the school and also making new friends in your local community. You can find out about these opportunities from notices in the school or notes your children bring home.

School Governors

School governors are people from the local community who wish to make a positive contribution to children’s education. They must be aged 18 or over at the date of their election or appointment. There is no upper age limit.
Governors have an important part to play in raising school standards. They have three key roles:

  • setting the strategic direction of the school
  • ensuring accountability
  • monitoring and evaluating school performance
You can contact your local school to ask if they need a new governor. In England, you can also apply online at the Governors for Schools website at
In England, parents and other community groups can apply to open a free school in their local area. More information about this can be found at

Supporting Political Parties

Political parties welcome new members. Joining one is a way to demonstrate your support for certain views and to get involved in the democratic process.
Political parties are particularly busy at election times. Members work hard to persuade people to vote for their candidates – for instance, by handing out leaflets in the street or by knocking on people’s doors and asking for their support. This is called ‘canvassing’. You don’t have to tell a canvasser how you intend to vote if you don’t want to.
British citizens can stand for office as a local councillor or a member of Parliament (or the devolved equivalents). This is an opportunity to become even more involved in the political life of the UK. You may also be able to stand for office if you are an Irish citizen or an eligible Commonwealth citizen. You can find out more about joining a political party from the individual party websites.

Helping with Local Services

There are opportunities to volunteer with a wide range of local service providers, including local hospitals and youth projects. Services often want to involve local people in decisions about the way in which they work. Universities, housing associations, museums, and arts councils may advertise for people to serve as volunteers in their governing bodies.
You can volunteer with the police and become a special constable or a lay (non-police) representative. You can also apply to become a magistrate. You will often find advertisements for vacancies in your local newspaper or on local radio. You can also find out more about these sorts of roles at

Blood and Organ Donation

Donated blood is used by hospitals to help people with a wide range of injuries and illnesses. Giving blood only takes about an hour to do. You can register to give blood at:

Many people in the UK are waiting for organ transplants. If you register to be an organ donor, it can make it easier for your family to decide whether to donate your organs when you die. You can register to be an organ donor at Living people can also donate a kidney.

Other ways to Volunteer

Volunteering is working for good causes without payment. There are many benefits to volunteering, such as meeting new people and helping make your community a better place. Some volunteer activities will give you a chance to practice your English or develop work skills that will help you find or improve your curriculum vitae (CV). Many people volunteer simply because they want to help other people.
Activities you can do as a volunteer include:

  • Working with animals – for example, caring for animals at a local rescue shelter
  • Youth work – for example, volunteering at a youth group
  • Helping improve the environment – for example, participating in a litter pick-up in the local area
  • Working with the homeless in, for example, a homelessness shelter
  • Mentoring – for example, supporting someone who has just come out of prison
  • Work in health and hospitals – for example, working on an information desk in a hospital
  • Helping older people at, for example, a residential care home
There are thousands of active charities and voluntary organizations in the UK. They work to improve the lives of people, animals, and the environment in many different ways. They range from British branches of international organizations, such as the British Red Cross, to small local charities working in particular areas. They include charities working with older people (such as Age UK), with children (for example, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)), and with the homeless (for example, Crisis and Shelter). There are also medical research charities (for example, Cancer Research UK), environmental charities (including the National Trust and Friends of the Earth), and charities working with animals (such as the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA)).
Volunteers are needed to help with their activities and to raise money. The charities often advertise in local newspapers, and most have websites that include information about their opportunities. You can also get information about volunteering for different organizations from
There are many opportunities for younger people to volunteer and receive accreditation which will help them to develop their skills. These include the National Citizen Service program, which gives 16- and 17-year-olds the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities, develop their skills, and take part in a community project. You can find out more about these opportunities as follows:

Looking after the Environment

It is important to recycle as much of your waste as you can. Using recycled materials to make new products uses less energy and means that we do not need to extract more raw materials from the earth. It also means that less rubbish is created, so the amount being put into landfill is reduced.
You can learn more about recycling and its benefits at At this website, you can also find out what you can recycle at home and in the local area you live in England. This information is available for Wales at, for Scotland at, and for Northern Ireland from your local authority.
A good way to support your local community is to shop for products locally where you can. This will help businesses and farmers in your area in Britain. It will also reduce your carbon footprint because the products you buy will not have had to travel as far.
Walking and using public transport to get around when you can is also a good way to protect the environment. It means that you create less pollution than when you use a car.

Make Sure You Understand

  • The different ways you can help at your child’s school
  • The role of school governors and members of school boards, and how you can become one
  • The role of members of political parties
  • The different local services people can volunteer to support
  • How to donate blood and organs
  • The benefit of volunteering for you, other people, and the community
  • The types of activities that volunteers can do
  • How you can look after the environment