My Christmas with Crisis

By Andrew Vinell

By Andrew Vinell

Picture Andrew Vinell helping at Crisis charity

Christmas can be a difficult time for many people, but imagine it without a place to sleep, and no dinner on the horizon? The only Christmas stocking you have is a small bag with all your belongings. The only friends and family around you may steal from you at any minute. This is what thousands of rough sleepers in Britain face every December, when the nights get long and the cold seeps into their bones. 

This Christmas was my fifth year working with Crisis, the charity that works non-stop throughout the year to help combat homelessness throughout Britain. At the Crisis centre in London, I commit a week each year to help provide thousands of people with warm beds, showers, delicious meals and vital health checks. This year Crisis helped 4,676 guests have a better Christmas. 

Crisis is committed to helping end homelessness in Britain, and their philosophy over the cold festive season is to provide a warm, happy and hopeful environment for all the people that don’t have a safe place to sleep. Their focus is on utilising the talents of business professionals who volunteer their time by holding advice sessions and skill-sharing workshops for the homeless. Part of the work is also using people’s skills in business to create various strategies to help end homelessness altogether. This is a lofty goal, but that is part of why I respect and am passionate about Crisis – their goals and ambitions are as big as mine. 

In 2017, I was privileged enough to be asked to join the management team in London, and for the entire week over Christmas we worked from 7am – 5pm checking guests in, making sure that everyone had hot showers and meals, and providing companionship for people who had nowhere to go. I was especially touched by the long term help we were able to give a number of guests beyond the week the centre was open.

It is an absolute honour for me to be able to share the skills I have learned from being a business owner with people who have had the hardest lives. It brings me an enormous sense of meaning to work alongside and learn from people in all walks of life and be able to help even a small portion of society. 

My New Year’s resolution for 2020 is to continue to support Crisis in its pledge, and to continually come up with creative ways to help the charity achieve its goal.

To learn more about Crisis and the work that we do – please visit their website here.

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