Sally Lilley is part of the shift management team at one of five Crisis Open Christmas shelters. She co-ordinates around 2,500 volunteers to help provide services over Christmas.

Are there any particular causes or organisations you support?

About 11 years ago, I had just moved to London and didn't want to go home for Christmas. I phoned Crisis to offer help and I have been hooked ever since.

Approximately how much time do you give?

Normally, about 15 days a year. Between 23 and 30 December, I do eight days at the shelters. I also attend training courses such as first aid, and communication skills, and organise social events to keep volunteers in touch.

Do you consider new approaches from charitable organisations?

I used to support other homelessness and Third World organisations, but Crisis is my main involvement now. Crisis pays me for short-term projects, but I would like to work full-time in the voluntary sector. You feel better about yourself.

What is a good way to approach you?

Direct mail is the best, but TV ads are also good - my ears prick up to TV ads. The volunteer work is humbling and satisfying. You can see that you are helping someone, and I know that appeals to a lot of volunteers.

What is the most annoying thing about being approached?

I don't like being approached in the street, especially when there are a number of unco-ordinated charities. One trip to the bank with several approaches is bad.

Visit Open Christmas at

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus