How to Volunteer in London at Christmas
If you live in London or you are going to be there for the festive season why not do something rewarding by volunteering over the Christmas holidays. We have put together a guide with a list of organisations and charities seeking help.
At Christmas time you can usually help homeless and vulnerable people, staff helplines, work with elderly people, be a part of your local community, help in a foodbank or work as an assistant in a shop. In London you an find large and small organisations in London desperate for people to help within local communities, the aim of shelters and projects is to provide food, companionship and essential services to people in need. There are lots of ways you can help and no previous experience or skills are usually required, you will need to be helpful and social.
This is a great way to do something beneficial, gain work experience or experience a Christmas like nothing you might have done before. You could work in a team at a foodbank or do something different like fundraise, work in a shop, join a choir or drive meals to people in need. Throughout London there are a number of shelters running throughout the city in North, South, East and West. Some organisations require you to apply in advance and they will place you at selected locations.
The Following Organisations Need Volunteers Over the Festive Period
Crisis are one of the largest recruiters of volunteers during the Christmas period, they need over 8,000 people to help at 9 shelters around the city. You could help set up and prepare shelters, work as a driver, hairdresser, medical assistant, cook, chef or help as a general assistant. They are flexible with dates you can usually volunteer for a day or longer from the 23rd to the 30th December. You will need to register in advance via their website or by e-mailing or telephone.
The London Mobile Christmas Service, are a smaller operation than Crisis and help homeless and vulnerable people at certain locations each year. You will be able to work in teams providing food and general assistance to people in need of help.
Shelther and Centrepoint both help homeless people providing food and both organisations would like to hear from you
The Christmas period is a busy time for charitable helplines, you could volunteer with The Samaritans, ChildLine and Victim Support
The St John's Hospice Christmas Grotto require enthusiastic people to meet and greet children as they visit Santa on various days of December
Save the Children run a variety of projects in London including a Christmas jumper day, Christmas carol singing at Waterloo and helping with the Goldsmith Choral Union Concert
You can help out the elderly by being part of a meal on wheels project driving food and drink to those in need
You might be best searching out opportunities within your local community, there are local charity shops and organisations seeking assistance to cover staff away on holiday during this period.
Who Can Apply
You usually need to be aged 16+ unless participating with a group or with your family. No previous skills are usually required but they are beneficial if you have any.
What to Think About Before Applying
If you would like to volunteer its important you plan ahead to research all opportunities and apply early as sometimes organisations get inundated with applications and demand can mean spaces fill up quick.
If this experience appeals to you research all organisations to see which one most appeals to you. Also plan ahead and remember during the festive period there can be a limited transport system especially due to staff strikes on the tube and train network. The tube and bus system stops on Christmas day and so it might not be possible to travel a long distance.
Past Participant Reviews & Experiences
"I was going to spending Christmas alone after just arriving in London so I signed up to volunteer with Crisis, this was a really special experience where I joined a team of skilled / non-skilled staff helping homeless people at a soup kitchen. I met a lot of friendly people who were helping for various different reasons and it was nice to see vulnerable people getting help e.g. haircuts, clothes washed, fresh food etc." - Paul, London
If you would like to tell us of any other opportunities please contact us and let us know so we can update the list. Or if you currently volunteer or have participated in the past and you would like to share your experiences get in touch we would love to hear from you.