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Crisis at Christmas in London

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 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.  

In London, volunteering opportunities normally take place over multiple days and are based in community venues and hotels.

Over the years, we have adapted our Christmas services based on evidence of what works to provide more intensive support to people experiencing the most extreme and isolating form of homelessness – those rough sleeping – to help them take the first steps out of homelessness.

By providing people with their own hotel room and a case worker who provides one-to-one support, we are seeing fewer people return to life on the streets. It’s a transformative and dignified approach that can change lives.

About our Christmas

Last Christmas we provided hotel accommodation for 451 people who would otherwise have been sleeping rough across London. We were able to extend provision in one of the hotels until the end of January for 148 guests and, by the end of the extension hotel, we had supported 166 people. A month later, 85% of guests weren’t seen sleeping rough in London.  

66% of guests accommodated in the extension hotel did not return to the streets. A month later we know 85% of guests have not been seen on the streets by outreach teams in London through the data collected on CHAIN. 

Our approach in 2023 year was based on the success of the past few years.  

We provided support and accommodation in hotels from the 20 December to the 19 January and in our day centres from 24 to 28 December. 

London Volunteering FAQs

Please contact us on the email below: or give us a call on 0203 745 4004. 

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

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.

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.  

You can find out more about volunteering this Christmas here.

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.

In 2023, we remodelled the service we provided to women so that we could more effectively end their homelessness in a sustainable way. Where it was unsuitable for a female guest to be accommodated in one of our mixed hotels, we secured a women-floor in specialist accommodation for people experiencing homelessness, with the accommodation available for up to three months. Alongside this there were specialist services, including mental health and immigration support. Providing access to longer-term accommodation is a significant development that should have a meaningful impact on ending rough sleeping for women in London. 


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 the Member Involvement Team: 

We will have some catering roles in our Day Centres this year, however, spaces are limited, and we ask all our volunteers to do a minimum of two shifts as part of their volunteering. You will also need a Food Safety Level 2 Certificate for these roles.  

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.

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

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 the role does, we use a digital system to manage this and we will request and pay for it (where payment is needed).

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.

We have volunteering opportunities that come up year-round and are advertised on our volunteering webpage.



If you are concerned about someone who is rough sleeping, please phone Streetlink on 0300 500 0914 or go to the Streetlink website.

They are welcome to come to their nearest Crisis at Christmas Day Centre. These are warm, safe places where people can access services, entertainment and community with no referral needed. All the details will be on the guest invite leaflets, which will be made available soon. 

If they do not have anywhere to sleep and they do have an Outreach or Key Worker, they should ask the Outreach or Key Worker to refer them. Most of our guests do not stay overnight, but we do have some residential centres for people in the most urgent need. 

Once you have registered and applied you will have access to e-learning relevant to your role and will be able to book onto an induction (dependent on your role).