Five volunteering ideas for the festive season

Volunterring-at-Christmas.jpg
Christmas is a time for giving and for remembering those less fortunate than ourselves. It's a message that's been drilled into us from childhood, but how often do we take time out from the festive shopping and family get togethers to really reflect on what it means?
Christmas is a time for giving and for remembering those less fortunate than ourselves. It's a message that's been drilled into us from childhood, but how often do we take time out from the festive shopping and family get togethers to really reflect on what it means?

Christmas is a time for giving and for remembering those less fortunate than ourselves. It's a message that's been drilled into us from childhood, but how often do we take time out from the festive shopping and family get togethers to really reflect on what it means?

At NowSure, we want 2014 to be different. We want a Noel that does something practical for those in need. We want a holiday full of festive cheer - and to find new ways of bringing that to complete strangers. We figure volunteering fits the bill quite nicely - and here are five ways you can take part too.

Crisis at Christmas
The homeless charity are looking for thousands of volunteers (9,000 in London alone) to ensure the success of their Crisis at Christmas campaign. As well as the capital, they're also running events in Edinburgh and Newcastle and are appealing for people with specialist skills (like dentists, hairdressers, lorry drivers and performers) as well as an army of general volunteers ready to muck in. Others ways to help the charity this holiday include donating goods (toiletries, food, clothing etc) or holding a Crisis Christmas Party to raise money through bake-offs, sweepstakes and party games. Sign up via the Crisis Christmas Party webpage, where you can also download a free party pack full of everything you need to host a party at your home, school or office.

2) You're invited for Christmas...
The Royal Voluntary Service has teamed up with Community Christmas for a special You're Invited for Christmas campaign, which aims to ensure no older person spends December 25th on their own unless they choose to. If you want to find a warm Christmas welcome for a friend, neighbour or loved one, go to communitychristmas.org.uk or call 0844 4430662. Alternatively, get in touch if you're interested in becoming an event organiser, visiting an older person or getting a group together to go to a local pub or restaurant.

3) Operation Christmas Child
If you haven't had time to pack a shoebox full of seasonal goodies for Samaritan's Purse, you can still support their Operation Christmas Child initiative by volunteering at a processing centre this month. You'll be inspecting and preparing the gifts for overseas shipment. Sound like fun? Simply fill in the online form to find your closest venue.

4) Team Animal
If you live in Bristol, Wiltshire or the Gwent area, you can make a real difference for the RSPCA this Christmas by fundraising in Wilko stores. You'll need to be available on either Friday 12th or Saturday 13th December for a minimum of two hours between 9.30am and 5.30pm. Every penny raised will help the charity be there for abused and neglected animals this festive season.

5) Sing your heart out
Got a cracking pair of vocal chords? Then carolling could be the way to volunteer this Christmas. Ring round local charities and ask if you can belt out some seasonal tunes on their behalf. They’ll usually provide you with an official collecting tin. Tone deaf? Try selling tickets or refreshments for carol concerts at local churches instead.

There are plenty more volunteering opportunities this Christmas, which we simply don't have time to feature. For more ideas browse both the Time Bank and Do-It websites, or take a look at CSV's Make a Difference this Christmas campaign. Here's wishing you a very voluntary Christmas...

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