Your guide to Xmas volunteering

By Jessica Elgot, December 15, 2011

Communal charities will co-ordinate hundreds of volunteers over the Christmas period.

Jewish Volunteering Network has opportunities including helping out with arts and crafts for vulnerable adults at Holy Cross Centre Trust in Kings Cross.

It is also seeking volunteers - especially drivers, doctors, hairdressers and entertainers - for the Crisis at Christmas homeless shelters. Also wanted are volunteer DJs over Christmas for Radio Lollipop, a station for children in Great Ormond Street Hospital, and for children's hospitals across the country, including Glasgow and Manchester. Volunteers are further required on weekends to earn charity cash by wrapping Christmas presents at St Anns Shopping Centre, Harrow. JVN's Joanne Bell said that "for individuals who may not have family to see or are not at work over the period, it can be a lonely time.

"The other side of the coin is that many charities find it very hard to operate with depleted staff and volunteers. So bringing the two sides together makes perfect sense."

Tikun is running its Light Up A Life programme featuring "chocolate drops" at hospitals, baking treats for the emergency services, volunteering at Jewish Care centres and lighting Chanucah candles at Jami, which helps those with mental health problems. Options also include events like ice-skating and bowling with disabled people over the bank holidays.

Help is additionally needed to pack food parcels for impoverished families through Gift.

Tikun will send volunteers on soup and tea runs for the homeless with the Simon Community. Co-ordinator Jo Hyams said: "All volunteering makes more difference than we realise, both to the volunteer and the recipient.",

Last updated: 11:32am, December 15 2011