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Appeal for public to give the gift of time this Christmas

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Appeal for public to give the gift of time this Christmas

Volunteer Now highlights need for volunteers through the festive season and beyond

The lead organisation for promoting and supporting volunteering in Northern Ireland, Volunteer Now, is appealing for people to give the gift of their time to those in need this Christmas, in the hope it will ‘start a habit that lasts all year’.

As the festive period approaches, many people and organisations need the support of volunteers in Northern Ireland. The Welcome Organisation is one such example. It helps those affected by homelessness through a range of services including a drop-in centre, the provision of hot food, street outreach, crisis accommodation for women and more. This Christmas, it is calling for people to help sort and pack vital items for people who use their services.

Jo Daykin-Goodall, CEO of The Welcome Organisation said: “We provide essential and lifesaving care and support to those who find themselves homeless and we rely on volunteers to add that extra special support to the services we provide. This year, we’re recruiting volunteers for a range of roles that will make a huge difference to those we support. These include roles in the kitchen, sorting donations and supporting activities in our female accommodation.

“Homelessness unfortunately impacts 365 days a year and therefore our ask is for volunteers to make that difference on a regular basis and to give a little bit of the time they have when they can. It makes a huge difference,” Jo said.

The year-round demand for volunteering is widespread, as Volunteer Now CEO Denise Hayward explains: “Year on year, we see many people putting others before themselves at Christmas. This selflessness is wonderful and the foundations upon which volunteering is built. Importantly, we want to harness and amplify that goodwill to help turn volunteering into a habit that lasts all year.

Photo: Bradley Quinn

“Recent research by NISRA showed that 79% of the population of Northern Ireland didn’t volunteer at all last year and we believe that can and will be improved if people simply give it a go. We would like to appeal to those who haven’t tried volunteering before to think of Christmas as the perfect time to see the value it brings. When you look at services like those offered by the Welcome Organisation, you can see that by simply offering a day, an afternoon, even an hour – you can make a huge difference in someone else’s life.

“I can’t stress enough the positive impact that volunteering has on communities throughout Northern Ireland every single day of the year. It also has huge benefit for the volunteer or their employer if they are helping to facilitate it for their staff. Volunteering costs nothing other than your time – and that time is the gift that keeps giving.”

Volunteering opportunities throughout communities in all parts of Northern Ireland can be found at

For further information contact Sarah Bell at ElseWhere PR on T 07792 162685 or E

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