Volunteers flock to Crisis

Homelessness charity sees numbers increase by two-thirds on Christmas 2007

Homelessness charity Crisis has seen a 66 per cent increase in the number of people volunteering to help run its Christmas centres.

The charity said 5,000 people had volunteered to help run its centres this year, an increase of two-thirds on 2007.

The centres provide services such as hot meals, medical help and hairdressing to homeless people over the festive period.

A spokeswoman for Crisis said the recent increase in repossessions had led to more homelessness and brought the issue to the forefront of people's minds.

"People have less cash this year, so they're looking for other ways to donate," she said.

The charity would consider running a survey of this year's volunteers to identify the cause of the surge, she said. Crisis does not pay for advertising, but it had placed more adverts this year than in previous years.

Meanwhile, youth volunteering charity v has seen a surge in web traffic this month, with visits to its website almost doubling recently.

More than 3,000 people have visited the website each day, compared with between 1,000 and 2,000 a day in November. There were 3,904 visits on 2 December.

A spokeswoman for v said the figures were the highest since it was established in 2006. She said the increase had occurred because of high-profile press coverage and the launch of two recent campaigns: Fashion Favours, which encourages young people to redesign old clothes that are auctioned for charity, and Festive Favours, a collection of games and activities that includes pedal-powered Christmas tree lights in London and Manchester.

Rosie Walker recommends

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