Six great volunteering ideas for Christmas
Christmas can be a magical time of year, getting together with loved ones to celebrate the festivities. But in amongst the exchange of gifts, turkey and mince pies, it’s easily forgotten that for many people, Christmas is a time of anxiety, worry and loneliness. According to the mental health charity, Mind, nearly a quarter of 24 to 34 year-olds feel more lonely than usual over the festive season, with 1 in 10 spending Christmas alone. So how can you help someone in need this festive season? Check out these 6 great volunteering ideas for this Christmas.
1. Help the homeless with Crisis at Christmas
The national charity for single homeless people, Crisis, is now in full swing with their annual campaign, Crisis at Christmas, and are still taking applications for volunteers to help out at one of its many centres around the UK. This unique relief effort provides immediate help for homeless people and a safe place to turn to for wellbeing services, hot meals, or for someone to talk to. Volunteers for catering, night times and much more are needed from now through to the 3rd January – browse their roles to find one that suits you best.
2. Spread Christmas cheer with the Salvation Army
This Christmas, Salvation Army will be operating in communities all over the UK ensuring that vulnerable people get the happy Christmas that they might otherwise miss out on. At their community centres, they’ll be helping to tackle loneliness by welcoming older people to enjoy a festive lunch amongst friends, as well as organising food deliveries, warm second-hand clothes and toys to struggling families. Read about their year-round volunteering opportunities to extend support beyond the Christmas holidays.
3. Warm hearts with LifeShare in Manchester
LifeShare’s Manchester Christmas Project will be running from the 23rd to 29th December, and are looking for volunteers to support them to provide hot food, entertainment, clothing and toiletries as well as medical care and advice to those affected by homelessness. Their invaluable work to provide a warm, safe environment happens all year round, but they could do with a bit of help over the busy Christmas period. Check out more info here or join their In-the-Box Christmas Campaign, created by Manchester United and England International footballer Marcus Rashford to support homeless charities across Manchester.
4. Join the food delivery service doing good this Christmas
If you’re at a loose end on 23rd December, why not join over 700 volunteers and help deliver Christmas food to disadvantaged families across London? Since founder Anthony Robbins delivered the very first baskets of food on Thanksgiving 40 years ago, his Basket Brigade has spiralled into a worldwide movement. In the UK, the movement has been adopted by YES group London, who work with the Anthony Robbins Foundation every year to bring that extra little bit of joy to families all over the city. YES group London’s Basket Brigade started delivering Christmas baskets 23 years ago, and have since helped thousands of families in need. To join them visit their website here and sign up to get involved.
5. Help Jimmy, help the homeless
Supporting the Cambridge homeless community for over 20 years, Jimmy’s Cambridge work with the local community and hardworking volunteers to deliver 24-hour emergency accommodation and supported housing. This Christmas, they are looking for volunteers to give their time to organise donations of essential items to the shelter. If you think you can help, visit their volunteer page here or you can learn how your donation can help here.
6. Give the gift of giving on Christmas Day
If you’re unsure of what to do on Christmas Day itself, volunteering at a homeless hostel can be a great way to provide love and care to others, and to support staff who work tirelessly over the holiday period. Camden homeless hostel and Hackney Winter Night Shelter will be open as usual, so choose to volunteer here to make Christmas Day special to those most vulnerable and isolated, and to help hostel staff feel less stressed on the day.
Without volunteers this Christmas, many charities and community services wouldn’t be able to run sessions for at-risk members of communities across the UK. Find out more about how volunteering and property guardianship go together here or read some more of our property guardians volunteering stories here.