Since 2015 Joshua has encouraged other people to see a problem and do something about it, and his influence has spread. The Instagram account @DoSomethingForNothing has over 59,000 followers. But it’s not just a # movement.
“There’s a kind of global network of people doing stuff at the grassroots level. Jade got involved early on in #DoSomethingForNothing, providing an opportunity to get involved in the same way. Jade messaged me, she’s a vet in north London. A lot of people on the streets have dogs and love them dearly. Jade started Street Vet UK, now with links all over the country.”
The movement has touched the lives of countless people, and changed Joshua’s direction as well. “I suppose for me, being an author was not something I set out to do. I thought, this is an important message and I knew it had to live longer than Instagram. It can be transient. I was not into English and writing at school and I’m really proud of the book.”
Joshua’s book Do Something for Nothing was released this week. It’s the stories of those he’s met “through the simple act of a haircut,” It’s another way that Joshua raises awareness of important issues.
“This week the eviction ban ended. Then you’ve got people that are still furloughed, and haven't got their jobs back. Hundreds of thousands of people could be given their eviction notice to leave their home. We can talk about prevention and talk about solutions. It’s all very well that the government talks about reducing the bill for homeslessness and funding for local councils. None of it means anything without prevention.”
These current and important topics should be the concern of everyone. It can seem difficult to know how to contribute to change yourself, but Joshua has some advice. “Write down those few things that don’t sit well with you. And write down your own skills. Connect things that you like doing and are good at with how to help. Remember your time is really important too. If you go and volunteer at a soup kitchen, or like when I go to Napier Barracks [with Jas and worldwidetribe] to meet people, I know I might cut a couple of people’s hair and some people might bring food. But ultimately just being there to hang out is the most important thing. You are important and your time is important.”
Joshua's message, of making small efforts towards positive change in the world around us, really is doable by everyone. Why not check in with your neighbours or search for local, grassroots organisations?
Plenty of NGOs need remote help with social media or online tasks too. No Name Kitchen recently requested volunteers for 2 hours each week for their innovative voucher scheme in Bosnia.
To buy Joshua’s book go to bookstore.org and search for “Joshua Coombes Do Something for Nothing” from your local book shop. And to join the #DoSomethingForNothing movement check out Joshua on Instagram