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10,000 volunteers needed to help homeless people this Christmas

Online volunteer applications are now open for Crisis at Christmas in Birmingham, Coventry, Edinburgh, London and Newcastle.

From night shift workers to nurses, dog handlers to dentists, dedicated volunteers are needed to help bring Crisis’ temporary centres for homeless people to life this Christmas.

Crisis at Christmas 2015 runs from 23 – 30 December. With two new centres set to open their doors this year, Crisis need over 10,000 volunteers to make Crisis at Christmas happen for thousands of homeless people. As well as warmth, companionship and hot meals, centres in London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Coventry and Edinburgh will provide guests with healthcare and specialist advice on housing, work and benefits. 

The centres are run by volunteers from all walks of life and offer a huge variety of roles, including:

• General volunteers, who chat to guests, serve food, sort bedding and make sure the centres are happy, welcoming places to be both day and night

• Night shift volunteers, who provide the essential support that keeps Crisis' centres running 24 hours a day throughout the Christmas period

• Service volunteers, including medical professionals, hairdressers and caterers, who give guests access to services they usually miss out on

• Logistics volunteers, who drive vehicles, co-ordinate deliveries and provide translation services – all essential to making Crisis at Christmas happen

• Entertainment volunteers, such as musicians, artists and sports coaches, who use their talent to bring some Christmas cheer to guests’ lives.

Homelessness has increased markedly in recent years, with rough sleeping rising by 55% since 2010 and by 14% in the last year alone.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said:

“Christmas can be a lonely, isolating time for homeless people. This year has seen an alarming rise in the number of rough sleepers in England, all of whom deserve the shelter, companionship and support many of us take for granted at Christmas.

“That’s why the compassion and dedication of Crisis at Christmas volunteers is needed more than ever. By helping to make Christmas happen for homeless people, volunteers can not only bring some much-needed cheer to our guests but also set them up with the chance to have a more positive year ahead through the life-changing services at our Crisis Skylight centres.”  

Kerry Smith, who has volunteered across a number of roles, said:

“I started volunteering at Crisis Four years ago after signing up as a general volunteer. Giving a little bit of my time to help others felt like the right thing to do.

“From the second I walked in I knew I had made the right decision. Seeing all these services available to those who needed it most and the enormous part the volunteers play in making it all happen blew me away!”

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