Spare a thought

by abisignorelli on December 23, 2008

This xmas, I’ll be doing something I’ve never done before – and something that I’ve always wanted to do but just didn’t get around to for one reason or another. I’m going to be volunteering for a fantastic charity called Crisis, helping them support homeless people at a time when they can feel particularly lonely and isolated.

Crisis is dedicated to ending homelessness by delivering life-changing services and campaigning for change. They do this by providing education, employment, housing and well-being services to cater for individual’s needs and to help people transform their lives. They’re determined campaigners, working to prevent people becoming homeless, promoting solutions developed through research and direct experience with over 8000 homeless people each year.

Crisis Christmas
And, at
xmas, they run temporary centres that provide shelter for those sleeping rough – providing shelter, companionship and support along with life-changing advice and medial services to help people take their first steps out of homelessness and link people up to the year-round support and opportunities.
All of this is only possible with the help of thousands of volunteers and donors who give their time, energy, money and skills.

So, that’s what I’ll be doing – I’ll be working with them for four days starting on Christmas day and finishing on Sunday 28th.

Rough Sleepers Centre
I’ll be working at the Rough Sleepers Centre which has a capacity of 250.

As well as daily sessions on learning and skills, there’ll be a variety of services provided for guests by the volunteers such as advice, befriending, emergency clothing & luggage, dependency support, food, hairdressing, healthcare, massage & natural therapy, Samaritans, sewing & alterations and, the one I’ve volunteered for, looking after homeless people’s dogs. Most guests with dogs are so attached to their pets that it would be enough to prevent them from using the centre if the kennels weren’t available. So, over the four days, I’ll be one of the volunteers helping ensure that both owners and dogs are looked after and cared for.

I’ll be straight with you – I’m actually pretty nervous about it and, as it gets closer, I’m feeling pretty apprehensive. And, it’s going to be really hard not spending Christmas with my family. But the fact that I’m going to be part of a dedicated group of people driving to give London’s homeless the best possible Christmas is keeping me motivated.

If you’d like to help spread the word about Crisis Christmas, then why not send an e-card from their site? Check it out at http://www.crisis.org.uk/addyourvoice/.

And, if you have volunteered before, I’d love to hear about your story – and I’ll keep you posted on mine.

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