The end of 2021 is near and with Christmas just around the corner, you may be wondering how to give back this festive season.
This year, we have seen a rise in fuel prices, a cut to universal credit and a rise in the energy price cap. The close of summer also brought an end to the furlough scheme; ultimately, many people are in need of help now more than ever.
If you have the privilege to be able to volunteer this Christmas but you're unsure where to start, we have listed some opportunities to get involved with.
As well as giving back to the community, volunteering is a chance to develop new skills and meet new people, so why not give any of the below a try.
1 Young People
Action For Children have created the Star in Every Child campaign. This campaign aims to support vulnerable children by asking volunteers to donate a gift this Christmas. The gift will be a monetary donation which will contribute to anything from a trip out, online tuition to support a child who has fallen behind, or even essentials such as clothes, shoes and food.
Trussell Trust is Britain's largest food bank network. They have recently issued a warning on the lead up to Christmas as temperatures are set to plummet in December leaving some families struggling to pay for heating and hot meals. Trussell Trust have estimated they will need to provide more than 7,000 food parcels a day during the month of December. If you have the ability to aid this Christmas, head over to Trussell Trust website to see how you can donate.
The Children's Society work towards ensuring children who live in poverty still have a bright future ahead of them. Your donations go towards delivering vital food and hygiene essentials as well as helping to find temporary accommodation when children need it most. As well as this, The Children's Society are currently campaigning to ensure all unaccompanied child refugees are allocated a legal guardian. You can donate and find out more on their campaigning efforts here.
Loneliness can effect anyone, especially those who have had to shield during the pandemic. Older people may still feel particularly vulnerable and may be spending Christmas alone this year, despite the success of the vaccine.
Do you enjoy cooking? You might be interested in joining the Casserole Club. The Casserole Club project aims to connect people who enjoy cooking and encourages those who are able to share a portion with elderly neighbours or those in need of a hot meal to share an extra portion. Head to the link to find out more.
The Silver Line is a free and confidential help line aiming to provide support, advice and friendship to older people who are in need of a chat. Open 24hrs a day 365 days a year, this organisation are looking for volunteers to man phones over the Christmas period. Find their volunteering opportunities here.
Independent Age are a charity organisation providing isolated older people with the opportunity to rebuild a fulfilling and independent social life. Volunteers are needed for roles such as supporting and driving an older person to an appointment, helping someone to get involved in their local community such as taking them to the garden centre or café. As well as this, volunteers may be asked to accompany someone on a walk or offer IT support. Click here to find their current volunteering roles.
The 'reverse advent calendar' is a technique in which volunteers add an item to a box every day for twenty five days. This can include anything from food, clothes or sanitary items. The box will then be donated to an organisation such as the Trussell Trust which will make a great difference to those living in poverty this Christmas. It’s also a good idea to check what items are needed in your local food bank before donating.
Centre point is a charity who strive to find young, homeless people accommodation. As well as this, their efforts include helping young people into education and employment. Just £25 could pay for a hot meal and a bed, head over to their page to see how your donation will help bring joy this Christmas.
If you come across a homeless person this winter and you're concerned for their wellbeing, trying calling your local council and ask about SWEP. This stands for Severe Weather Emergency Protocol and councils often have a system in place providing emergency support for rough sleepers. Your council should be able to guide you with information about extra support available for those in need. You can then pass this information onto the individual in need.
Want to find what roles are needed in your area? Here are some handy links that'll help you find some open positions:
Volunteering Matters and Reach Volunteering, are both sites offer volunteering opportunities and inspiring ways to get involved.
Websites such as Crisis.org also have helpful links to volunteering roles needed in your area.