Crisis at Christmas
Here is the lowdown on the Crisis at Christmas volunteering experience. Please read ALL of this information before signing up as a volunteer. Thanks!
Crisis is the national charity for single homeless people. We are dedicated to ending homelessness by delivering life-changing services and campaigning for change. At Christmas we provide companionship and support to alleviate loneliness and isolation and help people to take their first steps out of homelessness. In order to do this we rely on the support and commitment of over 200 volunteers.
BEFORE YOU VOLUNTEER
When is Crisis at Christmas open?
Our centres open for guests Christmas Day and Boxing Day 8am and will remain open until 6pm. Volunteers will be required to start at 7am on the morning shift and stay until 8pm on the evening shift to support with the set up and clean up of the event.
Where are the Centres located?
Our centres are located on City Road, just off the Swan-house roundabout, close to the Quayside and Newcastle city centre. As usual, our Crisis Skylight Centre will be the main point for activities. We will also have another centre based at Tyneside Vineyard (Storehouse food and clothing bank) further along City Road. This centre will be all about creating a relaxing space for guests who do not want to be in such a busy and hectic environment.
Is there an age limit for volunteers?
General Volunteers must be aged 16 or older by 21 December 2013. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian over the age of 25. If this applies to you please ask your parent/guardian to apply first and make a note of their reference number. You will then be asked to submit your parent or guardian’s reference code before you can continue your application. Please note that you will only be permitted to sign up to the same shifts and role as your parent/guardian. There is no upper age limit for volunteers.
Service, Activities and Logistics Volunteers must be aged 18 or older. There is no upper age limit.
Do you need any qualifications or experience to volunteer?
You do not need any qualifications or experience to be a General Volunteer.
Some Service Volunteers and Activities Volunteers are required to have specialist skills, qualifications and appropriate insurance before they can apply and, if so, volunteers must provide proof of these. Specific requirements are clearly stated under each service in Step 3 of the application process. Activities volunteers offering to run an activity will be asked to provide an outline of their planned activity on the Online Application Form. We ask volunteers to plan flexible activities as attendance varies day to day and the setting is informal. We also ask volunteers to remember that activities should be accessible for all levels and nationalities. For volunteers interested in Activities but who don’t feel confident leading a session, we still need your enthusiasm and skills! Sign up as a General Volunteer.
Please note that Food Safety training is available through Crisis for those who want to volunteer in the kitchens and MiDAS training for some of those who want to drive our minibuses.
How much time do I need to commit?
We ask all volunteers to commit to at least one seven hour shift over the two day event. Volunteers can then support for maximum of two shifts but not on the same day. This is to ensure volunteers do not take on too much on the day as it can be a very tiring and hectic day.
*Entertainment volunteers can sign up for one shift and do not have to volunteer for a whole shift. During the application process, you are asked to let us know the hours you would like to perform within.
Is there a deadline for applications?
We strongly suggest you apply early to ensure you don’t miss out on your preferred shifts. Once we have assigned the appropriate number of volunteers to a shift, it will not be possible to select that shift in the application process.
How do I select my volunteering shifts?
You can choose which shifts you would like during the application process. Please only choose shifts you can definitely attend. If a shift is full, it will not be possible to select this on the application form.
When we receive your application online we will, in most cases, assign you immediately to the role and shifts that you have selected. We will confirm this by email within 10 working days. In some cases we may not be able to assign your role and shifts immediately, especially for Service and Activities Volunteers, or we may need to reallocate you to an alternative shift, but we will keep you informed by email.
Do some shifts need more help than others?
We always struggle for volunteers on the Christmas Day PM shift (1300 – 2000). Volunteers who are able to cover these shifts would be appreciated even more!
Entertainment Volunteers will have the flexibility to go ‘on tour’ and travel around our London centres.
I used to be a guest at Crisis at Christmas, can I apply as a volunteer?
We welcome former guests as volunteers. Please note that you may not be a guest and a volunteer in the same centre in any one year. If you would like to discuss any issues surrounding this please contact us.
Can I volunteer with my partner/friend/relative?
For General, Activities and Logistics* Volunteers, this is possible. If you wish to apply with a friend you will need their application reference code. By submitting their reference code, you will be allocated the same role, shifts and centre. You can adjust these shifts (for example by adding or subtracting shifts) later in the application. If a friend wishes to apply with you, please make a note of your application reference number and ask them to submit this when they apply.
If you are under 18 years old, your parent/guardian will need to apply first and you will be asked to submit their reference code when you submit your application.
*Please note that Logistics volunteers may be assigned to a number of different tasks once they arrive at the hub. Whilst you can apply with a friend and travel to your shift together, we cannot guarantee you will be assigned the same tasks.
For Service Volunteers, this is only possible if both people are volunteering for the same service and have the appropriate qualifications and insurance, if applicable.
Does Crisis provide insurance for volunteers?
Crisis volunteers are covered by our public liability insurance, which covers ‘legal liability to third parties as a result of bodily injury, property damage, obstruction, trespass or nuisance’.
PREPARING FOR CRISIS AT CHRISTMAS
What should I do once my shifts are confirmed?
You will receive a unique login and password giving you access to Crisis Community, the online community for volunteers. Crisis Community contains general information, Crisis at Christmas updates, a chance to chat with other likeminded volunteers … and much more!
Do I need any training before CC?
All Service and Activities Volunteers are invited to attend a briefing session specific to their area that will also include an overview of Crisis at Christmas. New and past volunteers should attend this briefing to learn about changes to your service this year. Please note that new Services and Activities Volunteers do not need to attend the New Volunteer Induction Session for General Volunteers, but we strongly recommend that you all attend one of the specific sessions.
Catering Service Volunteers require a Level 2 Food Safety Award to volunteer. If you do not have this qualification, you can attend a one-day food safety course which will be running on some weekend days in November and December at the Crisis offices. You will be able to select your preferred date for training as part of your application.
All new Drivers will be required to attend one of the Transport briefings. You will be able to select your preferred date before you submit your application online. Drivers will have the option of indicating their interest in attending MiDAS training (Minibus Awareness Scheme) as part of the application process. Because there are limited spaces, this will be assigned on a needs basis. This qualification is required for all Driver volunteers who will be driving minibuses through the week.
Do you provide transport for volunteers?
Due to limited resources, you will need to make your own transport arrangements to and from your centre before and after your shifts. If you need to travel between Centres during a shift, transport will be provided.
We recommend you use public transport as parking is often limited in and around the Centres. As there is no public transport on 25 December and a limited service on 26 December, we appreciate that driving may be the only option on those days. Parking restrictions are normally lifted on 25 and 26 December, but please check this before you travel. As soon as we have parking information for specific centres we will post this on Crisis Community.
Car pools and lift-share opportunities will be posted on Crisis Community. When you have been assigned your shifts, please log on to find out if there are any in your area.
Do you provide accommodation for volunteers?
Due to the high numbers of volunteers and cost involved we are unable to provide accommodation. We do try to negotiate discounted rates with hotels and hostels close to the Centres. Information will be posted on Crisis Community as soon as rates become available.
Will there be parking?
There are two multi storey car parks either side of our Skylight centre but these car parks will be shut on Christmas Day. However, there is a high number of street parking spaces along City Road and surrounding streets. No on street parking charges apply on Christmas day.
Can I claim back my travel expenses?
Unfortunately, the large number of volunteers involved in Crisis at Christmas means that we do not have the resources to reimburse travel costs.
Can I change or cancel my shifts?
We urge you to apply only for shifts that you will definitely be able to attend, and to stick with the shifts that are assigned to you. If you are forced to change or cancel your shifts, please log into Crisis Community to do so. The more advance warning we have, the better chance we have to fill the shifts and provide the best service for our guests. Please note that you will not be able to change your shift to one that is already full.
What happens when I arrive for my first shift?
You will be checked in at the entry point for volunteers. It’s really important that you are signed in properly as we rely on this information to know which volunteers have attended their assigned shifts and monitor our non-attendance rates. If you arrive late for a shift please make yourself known at the shift office in order to be signed in.
Once you have been signed in you will be given a badge that will identify your role. Volunteers who speak a language other than English fluently will be given the appropriate flag to display on their badge.
Can volunteers use the services at Crisis at Christmas?
Services are strictly open to guests only, with two exceptions. Volunteers can use the service provided by the Samaritans and they can attend the AA, CA and NA meetings.
Do you provide food for volunteers?
Yes we do provide food for volunteers at mealtimes, but please be aware that all the food at our centres is donated and our policy is that guests always come first. This means we cannot always offer volunteers a wide selection of dishes, or cater for specialist dietary requirements. In some of our centres, guests and volunteers eat together, in others there are two separate sittings for guests followed by volunteers. Your shift leader will explain how mealtimes work in your centre.
If you have specific dietary requirements we recommend you bring snacks with you. Please note that if food items are brought to the centres, these must be consumed in the volunteer area only. We also recommend that volunteers eat a meal before coming to the Centres to start their shifts.