Specialist volunteers

For Crisis at Christmas specialist services

Massage therapist and guestDo you have the skills to help us provide vital services to our guests?

We provide:

Many of our guests will not come into contact with even basic health services during the rest of the year, so health and dental check-ups, eye tests and podiatry are a hugely important part of Crisis at Christmas.

Just as important for guests' self-esteem, though, is access to haircuts and massages and the chance to have precious items of clothing and baggage repaired.

Scroll down or choose a service from the list for more details.


Catering volunteerThis service needs more than 300 trained chefs, experienced food handlers and kitchen assistants to volunteer during Crisis at Christmas to keep the kitchens running and make sure our guests are well fed.

All catering volunteers must have at least a Level 2 Food Safety qualification. For those who don't have this, we will be running one-day courses at Crisis on some weekend days from October to December. You will be able to sign up for these as part of the application process. Please note there is a £40 charge to attend the course and the qualification is valid for three years. We will reimburse the cost of the course, if a refund request is made, provided that you carry out the minimum of two volunteer shifts.

Catering shifts more or less mirror those of general volunteers: 7.45 am to 4 pm and 3 pm to 10 pm in day centres; 7.45 am to 4 pm, 3 pm to 11 pm and 10.15 pm  to 8.30 am in residential centres.  However, chefs are not able to volunteer on the overnight shifts at residential centres. 

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Advice volunteer and guest

Our guests come to us needing advice on a wide range of issues and we run a comprehensive service to respond to their needs. We are looking for specialists in housing law, asylum and immigration, A10 issues, benefits and welfare rights, employment support, women's rights and issues and debt management.

In addition, we particularly welcome people who work in relevant fields such as CAB advisors, resettlement workers or those from Homeless Persons' Units. Shifts run from 10 am to 7 pm and the service operates in all centres. 

We are also looking for volunteers who speak foreign languages and English fluently to join our team as Advice Translation Support Volunteers. Our advice Service is particularly looking for speakers of Central, Eastern and Southern European Languages especially; Romanian, Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, French, and/or Spanish. If you know anyone else with these language skills, please spread the word.

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BefriendingOur Befriending Service works with our more withdrawn guests in a floating support role across all centres. The befrienders encourage guests to use the services on offer to them in the centres and work closely with the healthcare and advice teams, providing support in cases where mental health problems are involved.  

We are looking for trainee and qualified counsellors, therapists and mental health professionals with BACP/UKCP/BPS and BPC membership or similar membership qualifications, qualified social workers and nurses and those that work in front line services with experience of supporting vulnerable adults on a one-to-one basis, to volunteer on shifts between 7.45 am and 4 pm and 3 pm to 10 pm (11 pm in residential centres) on all days. 

If you are a Samaritan, please note that the Samaritans Festival Branch provides cover for this event and welcomes involvement of non-festival Samaritans. If you wish to apply, please go to www.festivalsamaritans.org/cc or email crisis@festivalsamaritans.org.

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Our Healthcare Service, supported by a pharmacy, provides a mobile clinic offering advice and assessment, plus some limited interventions and treatment.  

We are looking for qualified doctors, nurses and pharmacists, and those with experience of working with people suffering from mental health problems. Volunteers must provide their GMC, NMC or GPhC numbers, where applicable. We are also looking for healthcare admin workers and receptionists to join the team. Please note we are not able to accept applications from health care assistants, medical students, FY1 or FY2 doctors.  

The healthcare service will be based at our Operations Centre running mobile clinics to all of the centres. Shifts run from 8 am to 3 pm and 1.30 pm to 8.30 pm.

A member of the CC healthcare team talks about his experiences at Crisis at Christmas.

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Physiotherapist examines a woman's footOur physiotherapy service provides assessment, advice, treatment and referrals to other services to guests at Crisis at Christmas.

We are looking for qualified physiotherapists to provide assessment, treatment and advice and student physiotherapists and physiotherapy assistants to assist in running the physiotherapy clinics in our centres. All physiotherapy volunteers must be HCPC registered and members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Shifts run in the physiotherapy service from 10:30am to 5pm at the West London Day Centre and 8 am to 3 pm, 1.30 pm to 8.30 pm with our mobile clinic which is based at The Hub.

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DentistryThe Dental Service relies on qualified volunteer dentists, dental nurses, dental therapists and hygienists to provide a range of routine dental treatments - checkups, scale & polish, fillings and extractions under local anaesthetic - in addition to basic dental health advice and education. Volunteers must provide their GDC numbers during the application process. Please note we are not able to accept applications from trainees. 

All volunteers will meet at the South London Day Centre at the start of each shift to be briefed and assigned to a team for their shifts. Shifts run between 10 am and 7 pm and transport will be provided for those who need to travel to other centres.

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PodiatryThe Podiatry Service provides a range of treatments and foot care advice for our guests, mainly treating corns and calluses, mycotic and gryphotic nails, and much blistering and maceration.

We are looking for qualified podiatrists and chiropodists to treat our guest, and podiatry/chiropodist students to help run the service by welcoming guests and preparing them for treatment. Volunteers must provide their HPC numbers during the application process.

All volunteers will meet at the Operations Centre at the start of each shift to be briefed and assigned to a team for their shifts. This service will run mobile clinics to all centres. Shifts run from 8 am to 3 pm and 1.30 pm to 8.30 pm and transport will be provided to and from the other centres.

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OpticianOur Opticians Service works in association with Vision Care for Homeless People to provide eye examinations to the same standard as those completed at high street opticians. We provide non-complex prescription spectacles by the end of the week and complex prescription spectacles by  January. We are looking for qualified Optometrists, Dispensing Opticians and Optical receptionists to run the service this year. Volunteers must provide their GOC numbers during the application process.

All volunteers will meet at the Operations Centre at the start of each shift to be briefed and assigned to a team for their shifts. This service will run mobile clinics to all centres. Shifts run from 8 am to 3 pm and 1.30 pm to 8.30 pm and transport will be provided to and from the other centres. 

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Hairdressing and Salon

HairdressingThis service helps boost the self-esteem of our guests by providing wash, cut and blow-dry services and making them look fabulous! As well as hairdressers we are always on the lookout for people who would like to be hairdressing assistants or manage the salon.

You don't always need qualifications to help out in this service, just lots of enthusiasm. We also provide a nail bar for guests so if you have manicure skills, please sign up as a General Volunteer and let your shift team know so that you can support the salon as required.

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Massage and Natural Healing

MassageWe aim to provide a range of massage and therapies to our guests across all centres, including traditional massage, shiatsu, reflexology, Indian head massage, reiki, cranio-sacral therapy and more.

These services ensure that each guest receives a full and holistic approach to their health. All applicants must be members of recognised organisations and have recognised qualifications and appropriate insurance to volunteer. Shifts run from 10 am to 5 pm daily.

Please note that we do not provide acupuncture or hypnotherapy during Crisis at Christmas.

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Sewing and Alterations

The Sewing Service plays a vital role in boosting the self-esteem of our guests by making alterations to clothing and repairing items that are often precious to their owners. The tasks include sewing on buttons and patches, turning up trousers, replacing zips and repairing tears in clothes and bags.

Some tasks are relatively simple, others more difficult, and so we need a range of skills in the team. The sewing team will be based at the Rough Sleepers Centre with shifts running between 9.15 am and 5.30 pm each day. At the start of each shift, volunteers will be assigned to a team; either the base team, staying at the Sewing Hub, or the mobile team, going to other centres to provide the service on site. Transport will be provided for the mobile teams.

A member of the sewing team tells her story.

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Dog handlerThe kennels enable guests with dogs to enjoy the services on offer at Crisis at Christmas, as well as ensuring that the dogs get basic veterinary check-ups. We need people with professional or significant voluntary experience of working with dogs, such as handlers, veterinary staff and those with experience of working in kennels, as well as people who have no formal experience but just love dogs. The Dogs Service will be based at the Link Rough Sleepers Centre only, and shift times mirror those of general volunteers: 7:45 am to 4 pm, 3pm to 11 pm and 10:15 pm to 8:30 am.

Please note that volunteers in this role will not be carrying out veterinary checks on the dogs, as external vets visit the centre three times during Crisis at Christmas in an official capacity. Vets who apply to volunteer play a vital role in monitoring the health of the dogs during the shift but in an unofficial capacity, as some guests do not always agree to have their dogs checked by vets.

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