Want an office party with a difference this Christmas? Ditch the turkey lunch and get your workmates volunteering ...

Lots of companies are finding party budgets won’t stretch to much this Christmas, while teams are looking to do something alternative, unusual, affordable and much more fun than your average turkey lunch. 

National volunteering charity TimeBank has the solution: lots of charities are desperate for volunteers in the build up to Christmas, so why not think about making volunteering part of the office celebrations? The idea is to get together with your workmates for a few hours volunteering in your community, and then celebrate with the team at a local pub or restaurant afterwards. 

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of TimeBank, explains: “Last Christmas I asked staff what they wanted to do in the way of a party, pointing out that we had a tiny budget.  They came back to me with a brilliant idea – suggesting that we volunteer in the morning and then go for a curry.  So on a cold wet December morning I found myself with my entire staff in a Crisis warehouse packing up crates to be sent to Christmas shelters. It was great fun, a classic team-building exercise, and we all headed home for Christmas feeling we’d made a difference to someone less fortunate than ourselves.” 

Christmas is the most popular time of year for people to volunteer and thousands of people are already visiting the TimeBank website to enquire about volunteering opportunities – from providing the entertainment at a homeless shelter, packing shoeboxes full of donated gifts to children all over the world or helping out at a food bank. 

TimeBank makes it easy for companies by sourcing the volunteering opportunity, taking care of health and safety and risk assessments and making sure everything runs smoothly on the day. 

Helen Walker adds: “We want you to get the most out of your volunteering so you know you’ve made a child’s eyes light up as they unwrap a present or that you’ve given hope to a homeless person.  You’ll have bonded with colleagues over present wrapping or serving soup. And then you’ll go to a local pub or restaurant to unwind and share your stories of volunteering this Christmas.” 

If you’d like more information, go to www.timebank.org.uk/employee-volunteering