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Crisis at Christmas in Edinburgh

Volunteer with Crisis this Christmas and be there for someone as they start to build a life beyond homelessness. Whether you are the first person a guest meets when they walk through the door looking for support, or you provide a listening ear and companionship, you’ll be making a real difference.

Crisis works at Christmas and all year round in Edinburgh to help people experiencing homelessness find their own stable home and access education and training. Every Christmas, local volunteers come together to provide warmth, companionship and vital services to our members (people experiencing homelessness) at one of the toughest times of the year.  

Volunteering opportunities can range from a few hours to multiple days and usually take place in the Crisis Skylight in Edinburgh, or in nearby community venues.

About our Christmas

Crisis have had a Christmas service in Edinburgh for over ten years. We offer hot food, gifts and essentials and ensure people we work with feel connected and cared for at what can be a very difficult time.  

In 2023, we delivered hot food, gifts and essentials. We also offered phone calls for our members who were alone at Christmas, and in person events.  

Edinburgh Volunteering FAQs

We don’t provide any residential offer in Edinburgh, but we work closely with the Bethany Christian Trust who do, and we provided Christmas meals to their guests in 2023.  

If someone is rough sleeping, you can refer them to Streetwork, or their local council homelessness service for emergency accommodation.

For everything else, they can visit our office: 271 Canongate Edinburgh EH8 8BQ, or call us on 0131 229 7700 .  

Our Christmas services are only available to Crisis members and service users of some of our partners. If you are a Crisis member, we will be in touch with you before Christmas to let you know what services are available. You can also speak to your lead worker.  

You can self refer to Crisis if you need support with your homelessness.  

Please visit us at 271 Canongate, Edinburgh, EH8 8BQ or telephone 0131 209 7700.

It’s great that you want to support us this Christmas! There are lots of opportunities to support us through fundraising or campaigning work. To find out more, scroll to the bottom of this page or click through to the Crisis this Christmas webpage.

Of course, you are welcome to volunteer in a new shift, location or a different role if we have space available.   

Some of our roles require previous experience or qualifications and others do not.  
Professional service volunteers, such as those completing health checks or haircuts will require the relevant qualifications and public liability insurance.  
In some roles we may be looking for volunteers with experience of supporting people who are homeless or other vulnerable adult groups. Information about each role will be listed on our website and throughout your volunteer application form. Please check this information before applying to ensure you are applying for the most suitable role for you. 

If you are feeling poorly we urge you to not volunteer until you are feeling better.  

If you need to access your volunteer account please visit My Crisis Volunteering. Here you can access information on your shifts, including if you need to cancel or amend them and any learning relating to your volunteering as well as update your contact details.

The voice and expertise of people with lived experience is vital in ensuring our service is truly meeting the needs of our members. We encourage anyone with lived experience to apply for our volunteer roles. 

We also involve members and people with lived experience of homelessness in opportunities across the organisation including our Experts by Experience panel. For more details, please speak to your local Volunteer and Involvement Lead. 

We do not ask for references for Christmas volunteers. 

At Christmas, due to the volume of volunteers recruited, we are unable to provide detailed references.  We will only provide a start and finish date for those who have completed a volunteering shift in the previous two years.  The only exception to this is for the lead/senior volunteers who work closely with Crisis and members of staff beyond the Christmas service delivery period.  

Many of the roles in our services will require a disclosure check, (either basic or enhanced) - you will be able to see this on the role description.

If your role requires that you apply for a disclosure check, we can reimburse you for this cost, which is £25. Please apply online via Disclosure Scotland, send us your receipt and we can reimburse you for the cost

If you have a criminal conviction, this does not automatically mean you cannot volunteer for us. However, we may need to ask you more about the conviction to be able to do a risk assessment and decide if you can or cannot volunteer.  

At Christmas, due to the volume of volunteers recruited we are unable to cover expenses. 

If you are driving as part of your volunteering, then we can cover mileage.

Your application will be reviewed and you will receive a notification once this is complete.  

Once an application has been approved you can select your shifts. If your role requires a disclosure check, you will be asked to start this process.  

We have a welcome session for all volunteers and a suite of e-learning to ensure you’re well prepared for your volunteering.  

Once all the steps are completed, you can begin your volunteering with us.  

All Edinburgh Christmas volunteers attend a welcome session to learn more about Crisis and our Christmas services. There is also a suite of e-learning tailored to your role.  

All shifts have a briefing at the beginning to ensure you know who will support you on the day and have any information relevant for your shift. We also ask that you attend a debrief just before the end of your shift to give any feedback, report concerns and to give us a chance to thank you for supporting us.  

Our Christmas activities take place in central Edinburgh, and we deliver throughout the local area.

If you would rather make a financial contribution, get your community together to fundraise or find out about events we have coming up please email