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Volunteering on Christmas Day: How you can get involved

Here’s a list of ways to get involved with volunteering on Christmas Day and help people during the festive period

Christmas, the saying goes, is the season of giving. And beyond wrapping gifts in paper, you can also give your time and effort by volunteering on Christmas Day.

It’s a chance to help make the day a bit better for those who might struggle.

Perhaps you’ll be spending the day on your own, too. Or it’s just a noble reason to slip off before the Monopoly turns into a war.

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Either way, here’s our guide to volunteering on Christmas Day.

Crisis at Christmas

In 2021, over 1,800 volunteers got involved with Crisis at Christmas to provide hot meals and support to people experiencing homelessness. Operating on Christmas Day and on the days either side, Crisis hubs allow people to come in and benefit from conversation and companionship as well as food. Guests are also introduced to longer-term services in an attempt to get them off the streets for good.

To find out more and get involved, click here.

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Your local night shelters and churches

Many opportunities for volunteering on Christmas Day near you might not be advertised online. But being proactive can help. Get in touch with your local night shelter or church to see if they need volunteers on Christmas Day.

For example, many churches host Christmas lunches for homeless and vulnerable or elderly people.

Who knows, it might even turn into longer-term volunteering for you.

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Salvation Army

The Salvation Army has a range of opportunities available, including Christmas present packing and delivery. However, what is on offer will vary on a local level – and so depends on each local church.

Opportunities are available early, a Salvation Army spokesperson said, adding: “The Salvation Army’s local churches make provision for Christmas well in advance.

Opportunities are listed at this link, while charity shop volunteering opportunities can be found at this link, or by visiting a shop and speaking to the staff or volunteers.

And aside from Christmas Day itself, the Salvation Army has a range of volunteering activities on offer throughout the festive period.

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“Our community charity shops are particularly busy in the run up to Christmas,” the spokesperson added.

“Other voluntary roles include cooks and caterers, befrienders, and debt advisers. You can also volunteer at our foodbanks, lunch clubs, community cafés or playgroups, or volunteer to support The Salvation Army’s Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery Work, for example as a chaperone, driver or mentor. To find out more email ATMSVolunteering@salvationarmy.org.uk.

“You could also be a ‘Sally Army Star’ and fundraise to help isolated, desperate or hungry people this Christmas. Doing anything from festive coffee mornings and Christmassy office outfits to running, crafting and carolling. To download our free fundraising pack, go to Be a Star campaign.”

Age UK

Elderly people face a crisis of loneliness which is particularly acute at Christmas. 

Local Age UK branches may be operating on Christmas Day, so get in touch and see what’s available, either by getting in touch directly or going to www.ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer/volunteering-enquiry

Age UK’s Telephone Friendship Service also runs on Christmas Day – but volunteers need to commit to a year of volunteering and call once a week. Demand for the service is rising and Age UK says it needs volunteers “more than ever before”. To sign up go to friendship.ageuk.org.uk

Break the cycle of poverty for good
Big Futures is calling on the Government to put in place a plan and policies to break this cycle of poverty for good. We are calling for long-term solutions to meet the biggest issues faced in the UK today – the housing crisis, low wages and the climate crisis. Dealing with these issues will help the UK to protect the environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing of future generations. So that young people and future generations have a fair shot at life. Join us and demand a better future.

But more generally, as you’d expect, Age UK has a host of volunteering opportunities across the Christmas period, including volunteering in an Age UK shop or volunteering for The Silver Line Helpline, a free and confidential 24-hour helpline for over-55s who feel lonely and isolated. This service is also open on Christmas Day.

Rotary Christmas Day

In London, the Wandsworth Rotary Club holds an annual Christmas Day event for the elderly in the area. They’re looking for bus escorts to take guests to and from the event.

You can sign up at https://rotarychristmasday.org/, and your local rotary club may also have similar opportunities if you contact them directly.

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