If this idea sounds appealing to you we have put together a guide with a list of organisations and charities seeking help.


How You Can Help

At Christmas time you can 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. 


Organisations in London Recruiting Volunteers Over the Festive Period


1. Crisis

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.

Crisis 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.


2. London Mobile Christmas Service

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.


3. Shelter

Shelter help homeless people providing food and both organisations would like to hear from you


4. Helplines

The Christmas period is a busy time for charitable helplines, you could volunteer with The Samaritans, ChildLine and Victim Support. These organisations offer various voluntary work in the UK, not just London.


5. St John's Hospice

The St John's Hospice Christmas Grotto require enthusiastic people to meet and greet children as they visit Santa on various days of December


6. Save the Children

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


7. Meals on Wheels

You can help out the elderly by being part of a meal on wheels project driving food and drink to those in need


8. Charity Shops

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.



"I was going to spending Christmas alone after just arriving in London so I signed up to volunteer in London 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


Important Things to Know Before Applying

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.

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 which is also stopped on Christmas day and so it might not be possible to travel a long distance.


Start Your Application

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.

If you are open to other destinations you might like to view volunteer work in Europe or volunteer programs abroad.- there are so many exciting opportunities all over the world.