Where to donate your time
Many companies are waking up to the benefits of corporate volunteering. Offering employees a few days of paid leave per year to volunteer with charities of their choice, or organising volunteering days for the entire team, can be a great way for employers to empower their staff to give something back – and, if they volunteer together, to do some team bonding along the way. And as well as being a good thing to do in itself, it can be good for the image and longevity of your brand to be working for good causes and be connected to your local community.
For businesses based in London who have decided to adopt corporate volunteering, or for those employees who’ve been offered time to donate to a cause of their choice, you might be thinking: which cause to choose? There are a whole wealth of charities and social enterprises in London, from the grassroots to the big players, addressing a whole range of issues.
Whether it’s helping people leaving prison, those escaping domestic violence, the homeless, those struggling with mental health problems, or another cause, these organisations are providing a safety net and trying to effect change, making London a better place to live and blunting its harsher edges. (And in related reading, check this list of charities and organisations reducing clothes waste.) You’ve probably thought of volunteering with some of them before. To help jog your memory, or to point you in the direction of a cause you might not have thought of, here are ideas for charities in London to donate your or your company’s time.
This charity helps disabled children and young adults across London in a huge range of ways, from providing mobility equipment, to job interview training, and school holiday activities to increase people’s confidence and introduce them to new friends. Volunteer as a team to mentor young people, or use your admin skills to help keep the charity’s HQ running smoothly.
Stepney City Farm
There’s no need to be a stick in the mud at this fun farm in East London. Volunteer as a team to plant veggies in the kitchen garden, build shelters for the farm’s resident pigs, sheep, donkeys, or help with the upkeep of the farm buildings. Volunteering days are well structured, and you’re guaranteed to make some new furry friends. Find out more here.
The Trussell Trust
The number of families relying on food donations has sadly been rising in recent years. The Trussell Trust, which runs most food banks across the UK, gave out a record 1.6 million emergency packages to people in need in the last year. Volunteer at one of the charity’s centres across London, to cook and serve food, sort donations, or use your office skills to help the administration run smoothly.
This charity, who ICON are proud to have to produce a run of t-shirts for, helps provide housing for LGBTQ+ people, many of whom have experienced fear and violence in their own homes. The charity needs volunteers to mentor the young people it works with, to run social and fundraising events, and provide administrative support. Head here for more info.
If you’re looking to volunteer as a team, TimeBank can help you find the right opportunity. This organisation has worked with firms including EE, Barclays and The Telegraph, and charities operating in the youth work sector, in mental health support, with refugees, and many more people in need.
Great Ormond Street Hospital
There are more than 100 different ways to volunteer at this groundbreaking children’s hospital. Opportunities are available at weekends as well as during the week, and range from ward visits to beauty therapy, running craft clubs and the hospital’s radio station, Radio Lollipop.
This charity provides housing and mental health support to women and their children who are trying to escape domestic abuse. Refuge needs volunteers to run its 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline, and to act as peer mentors at its centre in Lambeth. It asks for a minimum of three months’ commitment.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
If you’re an animal lover, this celebrated charity, which has been helping to rehome animals since 1860, is the perfect place to volunteer. Battersea asks volunteers to commit to at least three to six months, and as you might imagine, places are in demand, but for the chance to spend your free time cuddling up to cute cats and dogs, it could be well worth the effort. Find out more here.
Looking to create custom merch for your business on sustainable fabrics? At ICON Printing we can deliver fast turnaround printing on organic and recycled cotton, as well as a range of eco fabrics, and we count clients in charities such as Stonewall Housing and Coppa Feel, as well as the likes of TransferWise and Boiler Room. For any charities looking to print with us, get in touch to arrange discussing a discount. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.