Struggling to capture the true spirit of Christmas?

Perhaps the solution lies in giving the most valuable gift of all – your time.

Volunteering Kirklees, based in New Street, Huddersfield, is posting an advent calendar of volunteering ideas throughout December; all guaranteed to make a difference.

The opportunities range from simply donating gifts for those facing a bleak Christmas to finding your inner elf in Santa’s grotto.

Sharron Wilkinson, volunteering services manager, explains: “At this time of year people are often inspired to help out, so we’re making it as easy as possible for people in Kirklees to do something that has a local impact.”

The Christmas volunteering campaign (visit each day in December for details) is designed to show that opportunities of all kinds are available. From micro-volunteering one-offs to full-day or longer-term commitments, there’s something for everyone.

Forthcoming Volunteering Kirklees festive suggestions include:

  • Donate towels and blankets to the local PDSA clinic, who will use them for animals in hospital.
  • Be a weekend elf for Kirkwood Hospice, joining Santa in his grotto and raising funds for the charity.
  • Give gifts to Yorkshire Children’s Centre – from fragrances and chocolates to board games for families who are missing out.
  • Help to dish up Christmas dinner at the Jubilee Centre, providing a festive day out for people who would otherwise be on their own.
  • The Denby Dale Centre is also looking for Christmas Day volunteers to serve lunch at the Kirkburton Hub.

And if you plan to make a New Year resolution about giving time to charity then Volunteering Kirklees has plenty of ongoing projects and organisations that need help.

Yorkshire Children's Centre director Simon Cale
Yorkshire Children's Centre director Simon Cale

Newly-posted longer-term volunteering opportunities include the following:

  • Two part-time helpers are needed for the Ruddi’s Retreat Cafe in Linthwaite, which provides holidays for children with cancer. Suitable for the over 16s. It’s estimated that each person would work four hours a week.
  • Invisible Traffick, an organisation that provides safe accommodation and support for female survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, needs sessional workers to support residents with life skills: eg cooking, arts and crafts, yoga, budgeting etc. This opportunity is for women over 18.
A living room in Invisible Traffick's first safe house, which opened for female victims of sexual trafficking in November. It is the first of its kind in north England
  • National charity PACT, which works with offenders/ex-offenders and their families to prevent social exclusion, is looking for volunteer mentors to give four hours a week. Full training is given.
  • Sense UK, the charity that supports and promotes the interests of people who are deafblind, multi-sensory impaired or have a single sensory impairment with additional needs, requires a volunteer for its New Street store.
Open Day at Stirley Hill Community Farm. Jack (left) and Tom Fishpool with chickens at the farm
Open Day at Stirley Hill Community Farm. Jack (left) and Tom Fishpool with chickens at the farm
  • Don’t mind getting your hands dirty? Then become a livestock bedding-down volunteer at Stirley Farm in Huddersfield. The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust organisation needs physically fit volunteers for at least one two-hour session weekly helping to muck out and replenish straw in barns. This chance runs until spring when the animals return to fields.