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Volunteer for Crisis at Christmas

Applications for Christmas 2019 are now open in Edinburgh, London and South Wales

 

View roles in Edinburgh

View roles in London

View roles in South Wales

Other locations will open for applications soon. In the meantime take a look at the FAQs below for more information.

Your Christmas questions answered

When is Crisis at Christmas open?

We kick off our Christmas events at the start of December 2019 with our annual Carol Concert. We then have Health & Wellbeing events taking place throughout December culminating in a Christmas day celebration on 25 December.

Where are the centres located?

Our centres in Birmingham are in East and Central Birmingham. They are located in buildings that are donated to Crisis for use over Christmas only, such as schools, colleges and empty buildings.

For security and confidentiality reasons, the locations of our centres are confidential and full addresses can only be provided once volunteers have been confirmed. Where possible, we give an idea of centre location via ‘whereabouts’ maps on the online application. These give a rough idea of location without detailing the exact address.

What type of centres are open for Crisis at Christmas in Birmingham?

For Christmas in Birmingham we open day centres. Our day centres are for guests who have accommodation of some kind, such as hostels, B&Bs, those who are sofa surfing or get their accommodation from different sources. A small minority may be rough sleeping or may have come to us from winter night shelters. These centres open from 11am to 4pm, providing lunch and snacks for all guests as well as activities, entertainment and essential services such as advice and healthcare. The day centres cater for up to 100 guests each and are open to all.

When do volunteer applications open?

Applications for previous volunteers open in early October and late October for the general public.

Is there an age limit for volunteers?

General volunteers must be aged 18 or older by 1 December 2019. There is no upper age limit for volunteers, except for drivers who must be 65 years old or younger.

When is Crisis at Christmas open?

Crisis at Christmas Edinburgh 2019 will take place on the 25, 26, 27 & 28 December and 1 January 2020.

When can I apply to volunteer?

We will open for applications in the autumn.

Where are the centre located?

Crisis at Christmas Edinburgh has been hosted by Southside Community Centre, Nicholson Street Edinburgh, since 2013.

What roles can I apply for?

Most of our Christmas roles are volunteer opportunities. We have General Volunteers, the Welcome team who greet our guests, logistics, drivers, hairdressers, massage therapists, podiatrists, performers, workshop leaders, kitchen assistants and more! Our full list of roles will be on our website once we open for applications.

Is there an age limit for volunteers?

Volunteers must be aged 18 or older. For these roles there is no upper age limit, except for drivers who must be 65 years old or younger.

How much time do I need to commit?

We ask general volunteers to do a seven hour shift (plus a two hour training/induction session in the weeks before). Some roles require less time (such as activities and performers who do shorter sessions). We ask Key volunteers (team leaders) to commit to two shifts.

 

Where is Crisis Skylight Newcastle?

Our Skylight Centre is located at 1-3 City Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE1 2AF. All volunteer training will be held here.

 

Where will Crisis at Christmas, Newcastle be held?

Crisis at Christmas Newcastle will be held at Blackfriars @ The Ouseburn, New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2TQ. We will be open to guests from 10am to 5.30pm on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

 

Can Crisis provide transport for me?

Unfortunately we do not have the capacity to provide transport for volunteers. However, once you have registered you can use the volunteer community website to arrange lift-shares.

 

Will parking be available for volunteers?

For the training the easiest car parks to use are either Manor Car Park or the Quayside Car Park. For the Christmas Day event street parking in the area is free and there are plenty of spaces along City Road and the surrounding area. The multi-storey car parks next to our Skylight Centre are closed on Christmas Day but Manors Car Park is open on Boxing Day.

 

Do I have to attend training, and do I have to attend even if I have in previous years? 

Yes, we require all our volunteers to attend training. We run fun, informative training ahead of the event so that our volunteers know their roles, key health and safety information and get the chance to meet their team mates ahead of the event.

New volunteers will be invited to attend a mandatory introduction to Crisis and Crisis at Christmas, as well a mandatory briefing session directly relating to their role and the services they will be involved with at the event.

Returning volunteers will need to attend a mandatory briefing that directly relates to their area as we aim to improve the event every year and you will need to be briefed on these improvements. However, it is no longer mandatory to attend the introduction if you have attended and volunteered before.

Volunteers that cannot attend their mandatory training will need to email the Newcastle Crisis at Christmas team regarding their circumstances. For the health, safety and enjoyment of everyone at the event we reserve the right to cancel your application if you do not attend training or contact the Newcastle Crisis at Christmas team.

 

I would like to donate some items, can I do that at the event?

Unfortunately we cannot take donations on Christmas Day or Boxing Day as we must sort and check all donations prior to the event. We will not have time or space to do this on site during the event, we are collecting donations at various drop off points in the north east from Monday 12 November to Wednesday 19 December. We encourage anyone with clothing, food or toiletries to donate to head over to Crisis Skylight Newcastle’s facebook to find your nearest donation drop off point.

Do you need any qualifications or experience to volunteer?

You do not need any qualifications or experience to be a general volunteer.

Some service volunteers and activities volunteers are required to have specialist skills, qualifications and appropriate insurance before they can apply and, if so, volunteers must provide proof of these.

Specific requirements are clearly stated under each service in Step 3 of the application process. Activities volunteers offering to run an activity will be asked to provide an outline of their planned activity on the online application form. We ask volunteers to plan flexible activities as attendance varies day to day and the setting is informal. We also ask volunteers to remember that activities should be accessible for all levels and nationalities. For volunteers interested in activities but who don’t feel confident leading a session, we still need your enthusiasm and skills! Sign up as a general volunteer. In your general volunteering shift briefings we encourage you to tell the Green Badge that you are an experienced activities volunteer and wish to support activities again.

Please note that Food Safety training is available through Crisis for those who want to volunteer in the kitchens and MiDAS training for some of those who want to drive our minibuses.

How do I select my volunteering shifts?

You can choose which shifts you would like during the application process. Please only choose shifts you can definitely attend. If a shift is full it will not be possible to select this on the application form.

When we receive your application online we will, in most cases, assign you immediately to the role and shifts that you have selected. We will confirm this by email within 10 working days. In some cases we may not be able to assign your role and shifts immediately, especially for service and activities volunteers, or we may need to reallocate you to an alternative shift, but we will keep you informed by email.

I was a guest at Crisis at Christmas; can I apply as a volunteer?

We welcome former guests as volunteers. Please note you may not be a guest and a volunteer in the same year. If you would like to discuss any issues surrounding this please contact us.

Can I claim back my travel expenses?

Unfortunately, the large number of volunteers involved in Crisis at Christmas means that we do not have the resources to reimburse travel costs.

When is Crisis at Christmas open?

Crisis at Christmas Coventry and Warwickshire will begin with a series of health and wellbeing events, with a Christmas Day celebration on December 25.

When can I apply to volunteer?

We will open for applications in the autumn.

Where are the centre located?

Our centres in are in East and Central Coventry. Some events are in buildings that are donated to Crisis for use over Christmas only, such as schools, colleges and empty buildings; while some centres used during Health and Wellbeing Week are local churches, hostels and day centres.

For security and confidentiality reasons, the locations of our centres are confidential and full addresses can only be provided once volunteers have been confirmed. Where possible, we give an idea of centre location via ‘whereabouts’ maps on the online application. These give a rough idea of location without detailing the exact address.

What roles can I apply for?

Most of our Christmas roles are volunteer opportunities. We have general volunteers, a welcome team who greet our guests, drivers, hairdressers, massage therapists, podiatrists, performers, arts and crafts workshop leaders, kitchen assistants and more! Our full list of roles will be on our website once we open for applications.

Is there an age limit for volunteers?

Volunteers must be aged 18 or older. For these roles there is no upper age limit, except for drivers who must be 65 years old or younger.

How much time do I need to commit?

We ask general volunteers to do a seven hour shift (plus a two hour training/induction session in the weeks before).

Some roles require less time (such as workshop leaders and performers who do shorter sessions).

View all the roles on offer in London

 

When is Crisis at Christmas open in London?

 

Day centres

Hours vary slightly at our day centres but they are generally open from the morning of 23 December and closed by 9pm on 29 December. The opening hours for guests are 9am to 9pm.

 

Residential centres

Our residential centres are open 24 hours and provide sleeping facilities for guests from either 22 or 23 December until the morning of 30 December.

 

Dual centres

Our dual centres act as both day and residential centres and are open 24 hours, with day guests generally arriving from 9am until 9pm.

 

 

What are the different centres?  

 

Day centres

Our three day centres are primarily for guests who have overnight accommodation elsewhere, for example in a hostel or B&B, and those who are sofa surfing. These centres open from 9am to 9pm, providing breakfast, lunch and dinner for all guests as well as learning opportunities, activities, entertainment and essential services such as advice and healthcare. The day centres each cater for up to 250 guests and are open to all. If a guest is assessed to be in need of more specialist services, they may be referred to the appropriate residential centre.

 

Residential centres

There are four purely residential centres for guests who are assessed to be most in need of essential services:

  • Outreach Residential Centre where guests are referred by their outreach workers
  • Winters Residential Centre for guests referred by Winter Night Shelters, which offer temporary overnight accommodation in churches but close over Christmas week
  • The Gate Residential Centre for those with alcohol or drug dependencies
  • Women’s Residential Centre

 

Dual centres

These are open 24 hours and provide meals and sleeping facilities as well as a full range of services and activities. Guests can come just to use our daytime services or stay overnight if they are also in need of accommodation. These are:

  • Croydon Centre
  • South London Centre

 

 

Where are the centres located?

 

Our centres in London are in Zones 1-5. They are located in buildings that are donated to Crisis for use over Christmas only, such as schools and colleges

Our day centres will be in:

  • North London
  • East London
  • West London

For security reasons, the locations of our residential centres are confidential. Full address details are available on the online application portal and can be seen by registered volunteers only.

 

 

What roles can I apply for? 

 

You can sign up as a General Volunteer or join one of our Services, Activities and Entertainment or Logistics teams.

The tasks you will be involved with will vary depending on your role but please see the brief overview of responsibilities below:

 

As a General Volunteer you will be using your adaptability and enthusiasm to support the Shift Team, running the centre by helping with a wide range of tasks. These may include giving out information about services, activities and entertainment at the centres, serving food and refreshments, manning restricted areas, cleaning duties, or greeting guests and making them feel welcome.

You might also be asked to support the delivery of a certain service e.g. helping in the IT suite, washing hair in the salon or managing the queue for the ever-busy Advice Service.

Some shifts will be busier than others, but you can use any quiet time to chat to guests and get to know them.

 

As a Service Volunteer you could be supporting the delivery of huge range of services including Catering, Advice, Healthcare and Dentistry, and Massage and Podiatry. If you have a specialist qualification which would enable you to support one of these areas, we would love to hear from you once the application process opens.

 

As an Activities and Entertainments Volunteer you might be helping deliver sessions such as arts and crafts, health, fitness and new skills; or you might be one of our many talented performers, providing entertainment and delight to guests.

We welcome musicians, artists and performers of all backgrounds, as well as anyone who can deliver fun and engaging activities such as bingo, karaoke or guest-led performance.

 

As a Logistics Volunteer you will be involved in the practical delivery of the project and are likely to be based at our pop-up warehouse in Bermondsey. You could be a Driver, a Technical Support Volunteer or lend a hand packing and loading the huge number of supplies we need to keep the centres and the project running smoothly.

 

If you have relevant skills and experience in one of our specialist areas, we could really use your expertise, so please sign up in the appropriate section once applications open.

 

View all the roles on offer in London

 

 

Is there an age limit for volunteers?

 

All volunteers must be aged 18 or older for safeguarding reasons. There is no upper age limit.

Under 18s are no longer able to volunteer, even if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

 

Drivers must be aged between 25 and 65 for insurance purposes.

 

 

How much time do I need to give?

 

Generally, we ask volunteers to commit to a minimum of two shifts across the week on two different days. However, this varies for different roles. 

 

As a General Volunteer, if this is your first time volunteering with Crisis at Christmas, you will be able to sign up for a maximum of four shifts.

 

For Service and Activities Volunteers, although we encourage all volunteers to sign up for a minimum of two shifts, it may be possible to volunteer in some services for just one shift or two shifts on the same day, depending on shift times and volunteer numbers.

 

Entertainment Volunteers can sign up for one shift and do not have to volunteer for a whole shift. During the application process, you will be asked to let us know the hours you would like to perform within.

 

For Logistics Volunteers, requirements differ depending on your role. For Driving Volunteers and volunteers based at the pop-up warehouse, three shifts are required. Operations Volunteers are required to do four shifts.

 

 

Is there a deadline for applications?

 

We strongly advise you to apply early to ensure you receive your preferred shifts. Once we have filled each shift, it will no longer be possible to select that shift in the application process.

 

 

Do some shifts need more volunteers than others?

 

We often struggle to find enough people to cover:

  • all roles between 27 and 30 December
  • night shifts in the residential centres

We are also keen to encourage volunteers to sign up for the day centre morning shifts on 23 December. This is a vital part of the Crisis at Christmas week, as volunteers help with the last-minute preparations before opening; making sure everything is in place and the centres are welcoming and comfortable for our guests.

 

If you have a specialist skill or qualification, please consider signing up for a role where you can use your expertise to make a real difference to our guests.

 

 

I normally volunteer at LINK or South london Day centre but I can't find it on the list - where has it gone?

 

This year we have a new centre, the South London Centre which will be located in Bermondsey, a borough with high levels of rough sleepers (you will see the address when you sign up).  This centre will be a dual centre which means it caters for both day and residential guests in one place. Guests will be able to present at the local centre, if they need a bed they will be assessed by our advice team and then stay with us if they need too - all at one centre. 

 

We believe it is better for our guests to remain closer to their existing support network and their local outreach team who work with us to refer guests into the project and support them during the week. We believe it is  a better experience for our guests to have their needs met at the centre they present in rather than moving them across London. 

 

This means we no longer have the LINK centre or the South London Day Centre.  The Green Badge and key volunteer teams will be combining forces to run the new centre. We expect demand for shifts  to be high, so please sigh up early.  If you can't get your first choice of shift then please think about trying something new, we always need lots of night owls or maybe try a different centre this year – we are particularly in need of volunteers at our centre in Croydon.

 

We hope you understand that these changes are about providing the best possible service to our guests, which ultimately is what we all want.

 

 

Can I volunteer with my partner/friend/relative?

 

General, Logistics and Services Volunteers can volunteer with a friend.

 

If you wish to apply with someone else, you will need their application reference code which is emailed to them once they complete their application.  By submitting their reference code in Step 2 of the application process, you will be allocated the same role, shifts and centre as your friend, if these shifts are still available. 

 

Please note that Logistics Volunteers may be assigned to several different tasks once they arrive at the pop-up warehouse. Whilst you can apply with a friend and travel to your shift together, we cannot guarantee you will be assigned the same tasks.

 

For Services Volunteers, this is only possible if both people are volunteering for the same service and meet applicable requirements, such as insurance and qualifications. 

 

 

Does Crisis provide insurance for volunteers?

 

Crisis volunteers are covered by our public liability insurance, which covers "legal liability to third parties as a result of bodily injury, property damage, obstruction, trespass or nuisance".

 

 

Do I need any training before Crisis at Christmas?

 

All first-time General Volunteers and those who have not volunteered for Crisis at Christmas in the past five years are invited to attend a New Volunteer Induction session in December. During the application process you will be asked to select your preferred date for this. We strongly recommend that all new General Volunteers attend one of these sessions.

 

All Services and Activities Volunteers are invited to attend a briefing session specific to their area, which will also include an overview of Crisis at Christmas. New and returning volunteers should attend this briefing to learn about any changes to your service this year. Please note that new Services and Activities Volunteers do not need to attend the New Volunteer Induction session for General Volunteers, but we strongly recommend that you all attend one of the area-specific sessions.

 

Catering Service Volunteers require a Level 2 Food Safety Award to volunteer. If you do not have this qualification, you can attend a one-day food safety course which will be running on multiple weekend dates in November and December at the Crisis offices in central London. You will be able to select your preferred date for training as part of your application. Alternatively, you can complete this qualification online via trusted third parties.

 

All new Driver Volunteers will be required to attend one of the Transport briefings. You will be able to select your preferred date before you submit your application online. Drivers will have the option of indicating their interest in attending MiDAS training (Minibus Awareness Scheme) as part of the application process. This requires D1 category on your licence. There are limited MiDAS spaces available and they will be assigned on a needs basis. While MiDAS training is required for Drivers using minibuses (25% of our fleet), Drivers without MiDAS will still have plenty of work to do!

 

All new Warehouse Volunteers will be invited to an optional warehouse induction. You will be asked to select your preferred date for this during the application process.

 

We have several specialist volunteer roles which are generally assigned to more experienced volunteers and usually available through nomination only. These include Shift Office Coordinator, Quarter Master, Service Liaison Volunteer, Guest Welfare Support Volunteer, Kitchen Coordinator, as well as Senior and Key Volunteers roles. We provide specialist year-round training sessions to these volunteers to ensure they are fully prepared to deliver their responsibilities during Christmas. 

 

 

Do you provide transport for volunteers?

 

Due to limited resources, you will need to make your own transport arrangements to and from your centre before and after your shifts. If you need to travel between centres during a shift, transport will be provided.

 

We recommend you use public transport wherever possible as parking is often limited in and around the centres. As there is no public transport on 25 December and a limited service on 26 December, we appreciate that driving may be the only option on those days. Please note that public transport will commence too late to allow you to arrive on time for the 26 December morning shift (9am). Parking restrictions are normally lifted on 25 and 26 December, but please check this before you travel. As soon as we have parking information for specific centres, we will post this on Crisis Community.

 

Car pools and lift-share opportunities will be posted on Crisis Community. When you have been assigned your shifts, please log on to find out if there are any in your area.

 

 

Do you provide accommodation for volunteers?

 

Due to the high numbers of volunteers and cost involved, we are unable to provide accommodation. We do try to negotiate discounted rates with hotels and hostels close to the centres. Information will be posted on Crisis Community as soon as rates become available. Please note that we are unlikely to negotiate discounts that will beat high street deals currently available.

 

 

Will there be parking at the centres?

 

In most cases it will not be possible to park at the centres as space is often very limited. We will provide as much information about parking options as possible when we have confirmed the location of each centre. You can also check online for parking options in the area around the centres.

 

 

Will I have to pay the Congestion Charge?

 

The Congestion Charge is waived on weekends, public holidays and the days between Christmas and New Year, so it is not payable from 6pm on 24 December to 7am on 2 January.

The Congestion Charge is payable on 23 and 24 December. This applies in specific areas within central London from 7am to 6pm and you can find more information here.

 

 

Do the Low Emission Zone and Ultra Low Emission Zone charges apply over Christmas?

 

Both the Low Emission Zone and the Ultra Low Emission Zone charges are payable 365 days a year so there will be no exception over the Christmas week. 

 

The following centres are within the ULEZ zone:

 

  • North London Day Centre
  • The Gate Residential Centre
  • South London Centre
     

If you intend to drive to any of your shifts, please check your travel route to find out whether you will be passing through the Ultra Low Emissions Zone and whether your vehicle will be affected. You can find out more on the TFL website.

 

 

Can I change or cancel my shifts?

 

We urge you to apply only for shifts that you will definitely be able to attend, and to stick with the shifts that are assigned to you. If you are forced to change or cancel your shifts, please log into Crisis Community to do so. The more advance warning we have, the better chance we have of managing the shifts and providing the best service for our guests. Please note that you will not be able to change your shift to one that is already full.

  

 

What do I do if I am feeling unwell?

 

If you’re ill, please don't come in for your shift. Doing so, you would pose a risk to other volunteers and to our guests, many of whom have compromised immune systems. An illness you might easily shake off could cause them major problems.

 

If you feel you can’t attend your shift, please log on to the Community pages and update your shift details or call the Crisis at Christmas call centre who will let your Shift Leader know.

 

 

Do you provide food for volunteers?

 

All the food at our centres is donated and it is our policy that guests always come first. We do our best to provide our volunteers with a meal, however this may not always be possible. We therefore recommend that you eat a meal before coming to the centres to start your shifts or bring snacks, especially if you have any special dietary requirements (please note you will only be able to eat these in the Volunteers’ area). We are not able to guarantee access to a fridge, microwave or other means of cooking so please make sure you take this into consideration when bringing food with you.

 

You will have access to plenty of hot drinks to keep you warm and cosy in the Volunteers’ area!

 

 

Are the centres accessible for people with additional support needs?

 

All our centres are wheelchair accessible and we always do our best to make volunteering easy and enjoyable for people with additional support needs. Please let us know in your application about any specific needs you have so we can make sure we are supporting you fully while you volunteer.

When is Crisis at Christmas open?

We kick off our Christmas events at the start of December 2019 with our annual Carol Concert in Swansea. We then have health and wellbeing events taking place throughout December culminating in a Christmas celebration where we host a hot meal, entertainment and donations for members in between Christmas day and New Year. This is to bridge the gap where many services close and people often feel most isolated.

Where are the centres located?

Our activities and events in South Wales are in Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot. They are located in a variety of buildings, such as community centres some of which we use year-round to deliver services so venues are familiar to members.

For security and confidentiality reasons, the location of our activities are confidential and full addresses can only be provided once volunteers have been confirmed. Where possible, we give an idea of location via ‘whereabouts’ maps on the online application. These give a rough idea of location without detailing the exact address.

What type of centres are open for Crisis at Christmas in South Wales?

For Christmas in South Wales we host a variety of activities in different locations. Our activities are for members who have accommodation of some kind, such as hostels, B&Bs, those who are sofa surfing or get their accommodation from different sources. A small minority may be rough sleeping. The activities on offer range from health and wellbeing events, hot meal events and entertainment on a variety of dates in the run-up to and following Christmas day.

When do volunteer applications open?

Applications for previous volunteers open in early October and late October for the general public.

Is there an age limit for volunteers?

General volunteers must be aged 18 or older by 1 December 2019. There is no upper age limit for volunteers, except for drivers who must be 65 years old or younger.