Each year here at Voluntary Centre Services, we receive phone calls up to Christmas Eve from kind souls offering their time to organisations over the holiday period, writes Heather Arnatt.
And every year we find it difficult to identify enough places for individuals to help out.
In fact, if we received the same volume of enquiries throughout the year as we do over Christmas, there might even be enough volunteers to go around.
Unfortunately, by the end of November many organisations have already recruited, trained and allocated their festive friends and will struggle to use your kind offer of help.
But if you still want to give some time this Christmas here are our top festive tips:
First, why not try microvolunteering?
Microvolunteering is any small, selfless action that helps you to make an impact on your community online without leaving home or getting out of your pyjamas.
These opportunities take from as little as 30 seconds to 30 minutes.
Examples of microvolunteering include looking out for last minute Christmas Parcel collections at your local supermarket and around town, or drop an extra item into the food bank collection at Riverside.
Send an extra Christmas card to someone who is recovering in hospital.
Visit PostPals.com to find addresses.
Know a neighbour is going to be on their own?
Let them know about your local community lunch or, if you know them well, considering inviting them over for a morning mince pie.
Volunteers with access to transport will also be needed on Christmas Eve to help redistribute surplus food from supermarkets out to the local community between 4pm and midnight, where food will be offered to churches operating a midnight mass.
Thinking about something longer term?
We’ll always do our best to find you an opportunity at Christmas, but in reality there are people who need your help all year round.
There are many opportunities to help out, depending on your interests.
There are lots of roles that depend more on personal qualities such as a caring nature, good listening skills or practical experience rather than specific qualifications or experience.
Many roles are flexible too and can fit around other commitments such as work, family or studies, for example befriending roles need caring people with an hour or so a week to spare, mentoring roles need people with experience who can care for and share understanding with others and shop roles look for friendly people who can give good customer service
If you’re interested in finding out more about volunteering please get in touch on 01427 613470, click here or call in to the Guildhall in Marshall’s Yard between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.
Follow Voluntary Centre Services on Facebook and Twitter at @VCSWestLindsey.
Heather Arnatt is the area co-ordinator for Voluntary Centre Services, West Lindsey.