Christmas is a magical time of year, where you kick back and relax with your family. At least it should be. Not everyone can enjoy that luxury. But you can help. Here are just some of the places you can volunteer at Christmas in London.
Crisis at Christmas volunteering
The biggest volunteering operation across the nation every Christmas takes place in Crisis's day centres and rough sleeper centres. Crisis at Christmas has an abundance of ways you can help make someone else's yuletide season that extra bit special. There are volunteer roles for doctors, musicians, cooks, good listeners, and more. Applications now open.
Team London Christmas volunteering
Team London is the ultimate search tool for volunteering opportunities, ideal when Google lets you down. These aren't necessarily Christmas related — the service runs all year-round — but type the keyword 'Christmas' into the search engine, if you need your volunteering to be festive flavoured.
Volunteer with The London Basket Brigade
This charity idea came about to put food on the tables of families in need on Christmas Day. 1,250 baskets are delivered on 23 December, and volunteers are needed to put the baskets together, and to drive and deliver them. Find out about the Christmas 2019 delivery (on Monday 23 December) volunteering opportunities here. A few volunteers are also needed in the run-up to 23 December to collect last-minute donations.
Shelter From The Storm
This homeless shelter in Islington is open all year round, and is completely free for those who need it. As with all shelters, demand is higher in the winter, and people are needed for shifts. Tasks include cleaning, cooking, serving food and talking to guests. Find out more here.
Hackney Winter Night Shelter volunteers
Open from November to March each year, Hackney Winter Night Shelter provides a bed for the night and a hot meal for people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets, and it needs volunteers throughout its season. Tasks include cooking and serving meals, doing laundry, getting to know the people staying there, and staying overnight to make sure everything runs smoothly. Find out more and volunteer.
Volunteer at London winter night shelters
Aside from the shelters mentioned above, plenty of others operate in London and are equally worthy of help. Sleeping rough on the streets of London in winter is a horrible experience, and shelters try to alleviate these issues, and give people a warm place to sleep for the night.
There are plenty of winter night shelters across London — why not contact your nearest one and see if it needs volunteers this year.
Rotary Club Christmas Day volunteering
Rotary Club holds a massive Christmas Day lunch and tea party, for over-65s living in Wandsworth. The wild (we presume) shindig takes place in Battersea Park. Around 450 elderly people who would otherwise be alone take part each year.
Volunteers are needed for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, and applications for 2019 are now open. You can do just one, two, or all three days. Jobs include preparing the venue, helping with transport for the guests, serving food and clearing up afterwards.
Volunteer at the Whitechapel Mission
The Whitechapel Mission receives as many as 300 visitors a day during December, and it needs a willing group of volunteers to provide for all these guests. You'll be providing not only warm food, but a touch of warmth in the lives of those less fortunate — truly in the spirit of the Christmas holiday. They need extra help at Christmas to help sort the donations received.
Salvation Army Christmas volunteering
Salvation Army churches are busy at Christmas, running the annual Christmas Present Appeal as well as hosting night shelters. You may be needed to sort through donated toys and gifts, serve festive meals or help out in other ways at night shelters. Contact your nearest Salvation Army church to find out more.
Plenty of charities hold collections in the run-up to Christmas, when the general public is high on good will. Keep an eye on your favourite charity for ways to get involved.