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 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, now in its 51st year. Crisis at Christmas has an abundance of ways you can help make someone else's yuletide that extra bit special across hotels, day centres and call centres. There are volunteer roles for doctors, musicians, cooks, good listeners, and more. Applications now open.
Christmas volunteering with St Mungo's
We need #volunteers to spread festive cheer whilst collecting vital donations to help people experiencing #homelessness this winter.— St Mungo's (@StMungos) November 15, 2022
Sound like something you could do? Sign up here to find out more 👉 https://t.co/WxNR4O0gdQ pic.twitter.com/pxFWr3aCVo
Homelessness charity St Mungo's needs volunteers to shake a collection bucket at train stations this Christmas — and spread festive cheer as you do so. Sign up online now — various shifts are available at different London stations (Waterloo, Paddington, Stratford, King's Cross) as well as at Christmas markets around the capital on set days between 24 November and 20 December.
Team London Christmas volunteering
Team London is the ultimate search tool for volunteering opportunities. These aren't necessarily Christmas related — the service runs all year-round — but type the keyword 'Christmas' into the search engine if you want your volunteering to be festive flavoured. You can also search by other interests, for example, if you want to volunteer with the elderly, or help the homeless.
Festive volunteering roles in previous years have included Christmas bucket collections, and volunteering at charity Christmas concerts and fundraising fairs — keep checking back for Christmas 2022 roles.
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. Keep an eye on the website and Facebook page for details of applying to get involved for Christmas 2022.
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, on evening, overnight and breakfast shifts. Find out more here — they're particularly in need of overnight volunteers this winter.
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 the 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 shindig takes place in Battersea Park, with around 450 elderly people who would otherwise be alone taking part each year.
Volunteers are usually needed for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 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. Applications to volunteer for Christmas 2022 are now open.
Volunteer at The Whitechapel Mission
Homeless shelter 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 giving not only warm food, but a touch of warmth to the lives of those less fortunate — truly in the spirit of the Christmas holiday. They need extra help at Christmas to 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 what they need help with for Christmas 2022.
Plenty of charities hold collections in the run-up to Christmas, when the general public is high on goodwill. Keep an eye on charities close to your heart for ways to get involved.