I believe that businesses should be giving back to the local community, and this is especially true over the festive period. As founder of the Warblington Group, this is an aspect of our business I am particularly proud of.

For many years, I have volunteered to help Crisis at Christmas, so I wanted to share my own experiences in the hope that it inspires you in the future.

 

About Crisis at Christmas 2016

Crisis at Christmas is a national charity that aims to help homeless people in the towns and cities of the UK. They aim to stamp out homelessness, and provide essential services to those who find themselves sleeping rough.

The closing figures for 2016 showed that throughout the ten centres across the UK more than 38,000 meals were served, with approximately 4,500 homeless guests welcomed through their doors.

More than 11,000 volunteers donated their time for the 45th Crisis at Christmas appeal and between December 23rd and 28th 620 guests received medical care from doctors, nurses, pharmacists and podiatrists. These are fantastic figures, as many guests wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to receive the healthcare they need.

You can find out more about the work that Crisis at Christmas do using their Impact Report here, or by visiting their website here.

 

How the journey started

My journey with Crisis at Christmas started many years ago. I had some free time available, and wanted to see what volunteering opportunities were open.

As it was so close to the Christmas period, by the time I approached them they only have night shifts available, something I hadn’t done in over 10 years. However, I knew that this was a worthwhile cause, and I started soon after I completed all the relevant paperwork.

My first role at Crisis at Christmas was to take on the operation duties at their Christmas Hub headquarters, ensuring that every centre ran smoothly whilst housing over 4,000 guests.

Working 8 nights on the trot was taxing, but this was soon forgotten as I got into the swing of things. I hadn’t volunteered for many years, and I was surprised at how many people from different backgrounds I met, each with their own unique stores and experiences.

Since then I have formed long-lasting relationships with some of the other volunteers, and suffice to say I’ve now caught the volunteering bug, and I keep going back for more.

 

My 2016 experience

My 2016 Christmas was slightly different. Due to an internal reshuffle at Crisis, I took on a managerial operational role in one of their London centres. I worked alongside a team of like-minded individuals, and together we worked to ensure the best possible experience for both guests and volunteers alike.

It was an extraordinarily busy time of year, but working for 7 nights in a row across Christmas was worth it. As always I met so many new people, both guests and fledgling volunteers. Many of these new recruits had never volunteered with Crisis before, and I loved hearing their own stories, and their motivation behind volunteering.

Throughout the rest of the year, both myself and the other senior volunteers attend training courses to ensure that we’re fully prepared for the festive season, including offering support and advice for those who need it.

With so many people grouped together in one place, it’s important that each volunteer knows how to cope with any situation should it arise.

 

Giving back to the community is important to me, and I hope you’ve been inspired to volunteer with a charity too.

Charities such as Crisis at Christmas rely heavily on volunteers throughout their organisations, and it’s always a rewarding experience knowing that you’ve made a difference to someone’s life.

Giving back to community plays an important role at the Warblington Group too. Since its inception, we have offered free consulting and support to charities every year. Approximately 5% of all our billable hours go back into pro-bono work, as we understand just how much help charities and small businesses need to survive.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading about my time with Crisis at Christmas. Do you currently volunteer for a local charity? If you do, what makes the experience so rewarding for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so let me know in the comments below. You can also find the Warblington Group on Facebook here, and Twitter here.

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