Be the gift this Christmas!

Many charities are desperate for people to lend a helping hand over Christmas. But they do need to plan ahead, so if you are thinking of volunteering this year, now’s the time to find out what’s available in your area.

TimeBank, the national volunteering charity, has launched a special guide on its website at www.timebank.org.uk/christmas-volunteering in response to all the calls it receives about volunteering opportunities each Christmas.

You could pack a shoe box full of gifts for children across the world; host an international student at your home, help out at a foodbank for hungry families or volunteer as a residential helper at respite care centres across the UK.

You might have thought about helping to serve Christmas lunch at a homeless shelter but did you know that many shelters also need entertainers, medical professionals, hairdressers, therapists and dog handlers?

TimeBank is especially keen to get companies volunteering this year. It says lots of businesses are finding party budgets won’t stretch to much at Christmas, while teams are looking to do something alternative, unusual, affordable and much more fun than your average work do.

The charity’s solution is to make volunteering part of the office celebrations – getting together with your workmates for a few hours volunteering in your community, and then celebrating together at a local pub or restaurant afterwards.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of TimeBank, says: “We came up with the idea of Christmas Party Volunteering to help companies get their staff volunteering at Christmas.  We can source a volunteering opportunity that suits you and your team.  And whether it’s serving lunch to lonely older people or packing gifts for a homeless centre, you’ll have a great time with your colleagues and do something incredible for your community.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

• TimeBank is a national volunteering charity, started in 2000. It recruits and trains volunteers to deliver mentoring projects to tackle complex social problems and also works with businesses to engage their staff in volunteering.

• TimeBank believes that great volunteering can transform the lives of both volunteers and beneficiaries by building stronger, happier and more inclusive communities.

For media information, contact Julia Shipston: julias@timebank.org.uk, tel: 020 3111 0721/07713163003