Where To Volunteer In London At Christmas 2023

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 7 months ago

Looks like this article is a bit old. Be aware that information may have changed since it was published.

Last Updated 17 November 2023

Where To Volunteer In London At Christmas 2023
Two people with their arms around each other, smiling, standing in a kitchen wearing Santa hats
Photo: Shelter From The Storm

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

Image: Crisis

The biggest volunteering operation across the nation every Christmas takes place in Crisis's day centres and rough sleeper centres, and it's been running for more than 50 years. 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 drivers, musicians, cooks, opticians, pharmacists, physiotherapists good listeners, and more, including plenty of general roles with no specific skills required. Applications now open.

Christmas volunteering with St Mungo's

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, Euston, King's Cross, Victoria, London Bridge, Charing Cross) on set days between 11 and 21 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 2023 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 around 100 volunteers are needed to put the baskets together, and to drive and deliver them. The base for this year is Woodside High School near Wood Green. They also need help raising the funds to provide the baskets. Keep an eye on the website and Facebook page for details of applying to get involved for Christmas 2023.

Shelter From The Storm

Three people serving food in an industrial kitchen.
Photo: 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

A crowd of people wearing Santa hats and smiling
Help make Christmas Day special for people who would otherwise be alone. Photo: Rotary Club of Battersea Park

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 2023 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, but note that volunteering opportunities here are strictly for teams rather than individuals.

Salvation Army Christmas volunteering

A man standing in front of a Salvation Army sign, ringing a bell.
Photo: Tim Mossholder/Unsplash

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 2023.

Charity collections

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.