Your local night shelters and churches
Being proactive can help, as some opportunities might not be widely advertised. 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 people experiencing homelessness, and vulnerable or elderly people.
Who knows, it might even turn into longer-term volunteering for you.
The 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 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, with their charity shops particularly busy as the big day approaches.
“Other voluntary roles include cooks and caterers, befrienders and debt advisers,” a spokesperson told us.
“You can also volunteer at our food banks, 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.”
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. To sign up go to friendship.ageuk.org.uk
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.
Volunteering for the Christmas Dinner project
Across the country, 34 Christmas dinners will be taking place for care leavers who have just aged out of the care system and would otherwise be spending Christmas alone.
Started by poet Lemn Sissay in 2013, the initiative needs volunteers to cook, give gifts or simply spend the day with care leavers.
Find out more here: https://www.goldfromthestone.org.uk/thechristmasdinner