In today’s blog, we caught up with BCU Volunteering officer Eva Pemberton who gives us some ways to volunteer over Christmas to spread some festive cheer.
Whilst many of us will be looking forward to spending the Christmas period reunited with our family for a much needed break after a difficult year, not everyone is fortunate enough to be in this situation.
Christmas is a traditionally a time of goodwill (if not more so this year, with the impact of Covid-19) so why not volunteer?
Help the homeless
Most of us are fortunate enough to have a warm bed to sleep in on Christmas Eve, but many young people will be forced to spend the night on the streets, as the pandemic has led to thousands of young people losing their jobs and their accommodation.
Crisis teams will be providing food, emotional and wellbeing support, advice, somewhere to stay, and help for the future. Volunteering is a little different this year but there may be some roles you can support with here.
Support your community
1.4 million older people in the UK suffer from loneliness and 200,000 older people will spend Christmas Day alone. Others might be self-isolating due to Covid-19 and struggling to get hold of basic necessities. The Royal Voluntary service are still recruiting for a number of roles – from check in and chat volunteers - giving a call to an isolated older person, to the more practical - helping to collect food or medication, or transporting goods.
Volunteer at a food bank
Food banks are a crucial support service for families living in poverty all year round, but especially at Christmas. The Trussell Trust, Food Cycle, and FareShare have links to opportunities packing food in a warehouse or supporting in the centres themselves.
Take part in a fundraising challenge
Perhaps you could use your organisations skills to encourage other people to donate through a fun activity? Macmillan have some great fundraising ideas – you could hold a virtual Christmas party, get crafty or dress up as an elf to raise vital funds for a charity of your choice!
Donate a gift
Vulnerable children and families surviving homelessness or domestic abuse might be missing out on a visit from Santa this year. Could you offer a Christmas hamper through Women’s Aid or donate toys to brighten up someone’s Christmas? BVSC has a list of campaigns collecting donations for a variety of important causes.
Do your bit for the environment
Volunteer to help collect Christmas tree from people’s doorsteps with John Taylor Hospice. This environmentally-friendly scheme will see hundreds of trees recycled and their chippings used at local schools and gardens. Some will also be used for mulch and bio-mass fuel.
If you’re interested in environmental issues and would like to find out more about the Environmental Champions scheme or the work the University is doing in this area, contact email the team firstname.lastname@example.org . Students can also join the Sustainable Students Teams group.
Search for other opportunities
The BCU volunteering bulletin has information on how to get involved in Volunteering with lots of different organisations, including useful links, resources and support from the team. You can also email email@example.com to register your interest.
Don’t forget to log any volunteering you do as part of your Graduate+ award!