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Crisis At Christmas


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This is my 4th year volunteering at one of the Crisis at Christmas residential shelters. Along with about 10,000 other volunteers we open residential and day centres for homeless people to get them off the streets over the holiday period. For 8 days we provide them with three hot meals a day, clothing, access to medical services and advice to help get them housed permanently.


I'll be volunteering for 6 out of the 8 days.

I'd like to ask anyone that can to sponsor me through the page linked below.




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Every year at Crisis there is always one memory that stays with you. This was last years.


One of the guests turned up in a wheel chair. Tony (all names changed) was a disabled ex Para Sgt that had been living on the streets for a while. He was accompanied by his self-appointed carer, another rough sleeper that had taken it upon himself to do what he could for Tony. How does the system break down so much that an 18 stone, paralysed, ex para in a wheelchair fall through the cracks and end up sleeping rough? We will never know, all we can do is try and help.


Tony was totally unable to get out of the wheelchair, I'll let your imagination work out the state he was in, he had withdrawn totally. It took 3 volunteers to get him cleaned up and into clean clothes.

Eventually we got him to tell us his Army number which turned out to be key. With the help of SSAFA we were able to find out that he was originally from Ealing (name not changed, I only protect the innocent) who had repeatedly refused him any help at all. The Crisis advice team, led by Lisa, swung into action. Lisa (not her real name) is a barrister in real life and I have to say I would prefer her defending me to prosecuting.

Lisa (to Ealing council): "You have a statutory obligation under blah blah para blah sub para blah to assist this person, I am going to make sure you fulfil that obligation"

It took a while but by the end of the week Tony, and his carer, had acommodation. SSAFA had helped with furniture, Veterans Aid (another forces charity) with white goods and Crisis had provided a care package (think of this as a months shopping) to cover them until benefits kicked in.


Our Advice guys were on hand to help them with claiming benefits, support for the carer and dealing with the everyday challenges that they would face.


Obviously many more were helped but this one person made my Crisis at Christmas worthwile.


It costs just over £20 provide one person with a place at Crisis. Every couple of quid makes a real difference to peoples lives :)

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Thank you Vaughan,


Nobody has asked the question "What do you do there?" yet but I'll answer it anyway :)


We have 3 shifts covering 24hrs at the centre I volunteer at and I run the shift office. When someone asks "who deals with xyz?" the answer is usually "see the shift office". Our official job is keeping records of who had access to which services, liaising with other centres over transfers of people and supplies, controlling the centre vehicle and petty cash but we get tasked with all sorts of problems to solve. I have a great team, well it's only two others but 'team' sounds better who know the paperwork inside out and I tend to subscribe to the philosophy that it is usually easier to ask forgiveness than permission :default_biggrin:

It's also a role that satisfies my innate nosiness. I get to see what happens all over the centre.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Well it's over for another year, Crisis for Christmas that is, but the work of Crisis goes on.


A big THANK YOU to those that sponsored me. When all the data from the week has been collated I will get a copy and I'll post here so that you can see what we spent all your money on :)


My sponsorship page will be open for another week or so.


If anyone has any questions about what we do please post them here or send me a pm. If I can't answer your questions straight away I'll be able to find the answers for you.


Thank you all




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  • 3 weeks later...

I've received a taster of the London figures:


The difference we made
This year guests were welcomed to over 9 centres across London and offered food, clothing, advice and support, health services and a chance to make plans for the future. Over 9,700 volunteers delivered: 
644 healthcare consultations
431 dental procedures and consultations 

312 eye tests

31,741 meals
4,438 Christmas dinners 
784 advice sessions 

359 footcare appointments 

1 tonne of turkeys 

90,000 teabags 

5,000 mince pies 

1,100 safe places to sleep 

A big thank you to all :) 

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