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December, 2002, 11:43 GMT
Want to volunteer this Christmas?
Are you looking to flee the family this Christmas? There's one escape plan no-one can argue with - volunteer your time for a good cause.
Last week we reported the story of Hal, a homeless man who has spent several years sleeping rough. Our story provoked a strong reaction and several people e-mailed to offer help and support.
Many charities are looking for voluntary help over Christmas. Here is a list of some of them, with contact details if you want to offer your help. Please contact the charities directly.
If you are responsible for a charity and want to add it to the list, send us the details using the form below.
Electricians, plumbers and carpenters are needed to help set up the shelters before they open on 23 December. The charity wants to hear from hairdressers, doctors, nurses and chiropodists willing to help out in the shelters as well as enthusiastic individuals.
Unskilled tasks will include serving meals, staffing an internet café, staffing an arts and crafts centre and spending time talking and listening to homeless people.
To take part: the shelters will open from 23-30 December and volunteers can work morning, afternoon or night shifts. They should be willing to do at least two shifts and will receive an introductory briefing. Call Crisis on 0870 011 3335, or apply online (see Internet links at the top right of this page)
Organisers need help sorting through 35 tons of festive food from 0700 on Christmas Eve. The food will be handed to 2,000 homeless people and volunteers are welcome to stay later to help load it into vans.
To take part: anyone can apply. Call Samantha on 0161 833 0245.
Age Concern is always looking for volunteers and some branches need people to take part, over the festive period, in befriending schemes and to help elderly people with shopping.
To take part: call the Age Concern hotline on 0800 00 99 66 between 0700 and 1900, seven days a week, to find if your local branch needs help.
This homeless shelter in east London is looking for volunteers to help prepare, cook and serve breakfast, wash up and clear tables and distribute clothing. Volunteers will also be needed to talk and listen to the homeless.
To take part: volunteers needed throughout Christmas period from 0600 to 1300, or part of. Call 020 7247 8280.
Volunteers needed to help wrap gifts after the local Mencap branch was robbed and the presents for disabled children were stolen. New toys have been obtained but help is needed wrapping them.
To take part: the wrapping session to be held on Wednesday, 18 December at Ha Ha bar, 32 Kings Road, Reading from 1830 Wednesday.
Help is organised at a local level. Some branches will be looking for help over Christmas although most would appreciate a longer term commitment. Work includes befriending, fundraising and leaflet drops.
To take part: call 020 7306 0606 for details of your local office or go to the society's website (see Internet links at the top right of this page).
Help is required in every area of the country. There are almost 300 branches nationwide who would be grateful for assistance with Christmas or year round activities. Activities include helping with information stands and at meetings, assisting with transport and helping raise vital funds for the charity.
To take part: Call 020 7931 8080 for details of your nearest branch or refer to the society's website (see Internet links at the top right of this page) or your local telephone directory.
The Food Chain prepares and delivers nutritionally balanced meals, groceries and Christmas hampers for housebound Londoners with HIV. We are looking for volunteers to work on Sunday mornings cooking the meals, and drivers and navigators to deliver the meals at lunchtime. To take part: Call 020 7272 7272 or visit the website (see Internet links) for more information.
Deafblind UK is looking for volunteers to help people who are deaf and blind, whether by befriending or shopping trip etc. Help is also needed running the helpline, which operates from the Peterborough office. Get in touch on 01733 358 100 or via the website (see Internet links).
Many of the 800+ Salvation Army centres in the UK will be open over Christmas providing Christmas Day meals for anyone who might otherwise be alone and organising food and toy parcels for older people, the homeless and families in need.
Anyone can volunteer with The Salvation Army and many people do all year round. If you would like to volunteer please contact your nearest Salvation Army centre - all contact details and locations are on the website or call 020 7 367 4500 before Christmas Eve.
This group is looking for volunteers between the ages of 16 to 25 for immediately after the Christmas and New Year period to assist with a multitude of voluntary activities in particular its Pencil Box Appeal which is to collect as many unwanted or unused items of student equipment ie pens pencils, rulers, erasers, calculators, compasses, pencil cases etc to send to a school in Zambia who are in great need of this equipment. Please contact Brian Watson Projects Manager CSV Action Sunderland & Durham Millennium Volunteers, on 0191 5518241.
If you are running a charity event over Christmas and looking for volunteers, tell us below. Please include your e-mail address and phone number for us to get in contact with you.
Be as detailed as possible when describing the work, and include contact details under "Volunteer Information" for publication.
11 Dec 02 | UK
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