Start 2017 with a random act of kindness ...

Why not do something nice for someone else? Pic: Ian Rutherford
Why not do something nice for someone else? Pic: Ian Rutherford

And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

The words of Robert Burns have just resonated around the globe.

Now, a new campaign is aiming to tap into that very sentiment by urging folk to start the new year with a random act of kindess.

And big-hearted Fifers are being urged to play their part.

Between now and January 25 – Burns’ birthday – Visit Scotland has urged folk to turn his words into actions, big or small, in a 21-day challenge to inspire people to create a kinder Scotland

They want people to do something for others, and perform their own deliberate acts of kindness.

It could be a cheery ‘hello’ to a stranger ... leaving a book on a bench for someone else to read ... or giving a few bob to a homeless person.

The act itself can be big or small – it’s the thought that counts.

No-one has inspired Scots quite like Burns whose verse and songs are celebrated around the world every year.

He was a pioneer of the Romantic artistic and literary movement, which served as an inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism.

As the world begins a new year, Visit Scotland is tapping into his legacy for a campaign that everyone can take part in.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive, said: “Whether his subject was a man or a mouse – or even a louse – Robert Burns had a rare talent for putting himself into others’ shoes and expressing life’s universal emotions.

“Indeed, it is because of this great man that we promise, every Hogmanay, to ‘tak a cup o’ kindness’ with our neighbours and go forward into the new year with a sense of belonging and hope for the future.

“We are delighted to be supporting this Kinder Scotland 21 day challenge and hope that many across the country will spread their #ScotSpirit no matter how big or small the act.”

In 2014, a poll revealed Edinburgh and Glasgow people are among the most generous in Britain when it comes to random acts of kindness.

Further research from the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) in 2015 showed that Scots pride themselves on their generosity with almost nine out of 10 Scots donating to charity.

A spokesman from the U.Lab coaching circle, which came up with the idea for the Kindness Challenge, said: “We tried the 21-day challenge in November in advance of launching Kinder Scotland 2017 and we were blown away by how such a simple intention could transform our relationships with ourselves, our environment and with others in unexpected ways.

“It truly is an adventure.”

Give these a try...

1. Brighten someone’s day

Make a point of saying ‘hello’ to a stranger as you walk to work ... give them a smile and a breezy ‘good morning!’ as you pass.

2. Turn the page

Leave a book you’ve enjoyed on a bench for someone else to pick up and read ... in fact could you leave more than one in places where they’ll be discovered?

3. It’s on me

Offer to pay for the drink of the person in front of you in the queue at a cafe. Be part of the ‘pay it forward’ idea which has taken off in cafes and coffee shops around the globe.

4. Take a seat

Make a point of giving up your seat to someone else on the bus to and from work.

5. Pack a bag

Supermarket check-outs are busy places. Help the person next to you by packing their bags ... or assist them loading their shopping into their car.

6.Fill the shelves

Every charity shop welcomes donations of clothes, household items ands books ... so pop into the one you support and drop off a bag of stuff from your home.

7. It could be you!

Buy a lottery ticket and leave it in a puiblic place ... someone may pick it up and strike it lucky!

8. Spare change ...

Instead of walking past someone begging in the street, chip in with a few coins. Even better, stop and chat, maybe buy them a coffee.

9. Share your ticket

If there is still time left on your parking ticket, pass it on to the motorist heading to the machine... or leave it stuck to the front of the pay point for someont to pick up and use.

10. A wee tip!

Eating out?

Make a point of tipping a bit more to thank the staff who took care of your table.