UK Charity Week 2023

Celebrating and raising awareness of charities in the UK from 4th - 8th December 2023.

What is UK Charity Week?

UK Charity Week is an annual charity campaign to raise awareness of all the fantastic charities in the UK, including those high on the national agenda, at a time in the year when people are statistically at their most giving.

At Communities 1st, our partnerships team works with many member organisations which are charities. During this week, we will be highlighting some of those charities on social media and in our newsletters.

UK Charity Week logo

Exciting Charity News and Fundraising Appeals

Barbastelle Bats are in Hertfordshire!

Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust is working in partnership with Herts and Middlesex Bat Group (HMBG) on the Hertfordshire Barbastelle Bat Project to learn more about the rare and elusive Barbastelle bat, which until 11 years ago was presumed to be extinct in Hertfordshire.

The Barbastelle is a medium-sized bat, measuring around 4-5cm, with a unique appearance - large ears that meet in the middle, a pug-like nose and silky, white-tipped, dark fur.

In 2012, HMBG discovered the first maternity roost, where female bats gather to have their young each year, near Bishop’s Stortford. Since then, the two wildlife conservation charities have worked together to improve understanding of these little-known creatures and discovered two further maternity roost sites in Ashridge Estate and St Paul's Walden.

Read more about this project by clicking here.


Can You Imagine Living on £9.58 a Week?

Asylum seekers often arrive to the UK with just the clothes they stand up in. They face long delays before their claims are decided and while this is happening, their needs change: children grow, adults and children go to school and college, some seek out opportunities to volunteer. Those in hotels get board and lodging, but only receive £9.58 per person per week to cover everything else, including clothes, school uniform and shoes, bus fares and supplemental food.

Arash: "In Iran, I was a software engineer and was used to providing for my family... It took time to receive the government card to buy basic essentials. But Herts Welcomes Refugees immediately gave us clothes, shoes and vouchers for food." 

Herts Welcomes Refugees uses funds they raise to help provide Hertfordshire refugees with extra support and essentials. They help those leaving hotels and moving into their own homes by providing a welcome package of household goods, costing in the region of £500. Now that many more families are arriving, the charity is struggling to provide welcome packages and to meet other needs.

You can help by donating to the Warm Welcome Fundraising Appeal! Here are some ideas to help you fundraise:

  • Send an e-card designed by asylum seekers.
  • Use EasyFundraising every time you shop.
  • Set up a Facebook birthday fundraiser.
  • Host a coffee morning or sponsored event.
  • Make a donation instead of giving a loved one a festive gift.


#EnoughIsEnough - EDS UK Heads to Downing Street

On Tuesday 21st November, The Ehlers-Danlos Support UK held a briefing with MPs in Westminster on the lack of NHS services for people with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos (hEDS) syndrome and hypermobility syndrome disorder (HSD) in England, before handing in their #EnoughIsEnough England petition to number 10 Downing Street.

24 MPs joined the briefing at which EDS UK asked them to ask the Health and Social Care Committee to urgently review the provision of services as hEDS / HSD is the most common type of EDS and affects 1 in 500 people.

Click here to read more about the #EnoughIsEnough campaign. If you would like to support the campaign, you can:

Enjoy Festive Fun at the Christmas Party

Date: Thursday 14th December from 10.30am - 2.30pm.
Location: Batford Memorial Hall
Tickets: places are free, but must be reserved in advance using the contact information below.

Batford Memorial Hall's Christmas Party is now open to bookings! This free event is open to all retired residents of Batford and surrounding villages and is a chance to have a catch-up with old friends and a chance to meet new ones. There will be a full Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings, with a cracker for everyone to pull along with the afternoon's entertainment.

Community transport can be arranged for those who aren't able to get to the hall under their own steam.

For more information or to book a place, please call 07794 121965 or visit the website to complete the online form.

Five New Compassionate Cafes Opening in St Albans

Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care has expanded its Compassionate Cafes programme to support bereaved people in St Albans. Compassionate Cafes support  local community members as they cope with loneliness and isolation following the loss of a loved one. While sessions are run by trained volunteers who are on hand to welcome and chat to attendees, they are very informal in structure and are not run as a support group or counselling session.

New cafes in St Albans:

  • Cafe on the Corner (AL3 5BJ)
    • Starting in January 2024 and taking place on the third Saturday of the month from 10.30am - 12 noon.
    • In partnership with Camphill Village Trust.
  • Cottonmill Community & Cycling Centre (AL1 2EF)
    • Starting in January 2024 and taking place on the last Tuesday of the month from 12 noon - 1.30pm.
    • In partnership with Leeanna's Wish CIC.
  • Cross Street Cafe (AL3 5EE)
    • Starting in December 2023 and taking place on the second Tuesday of the month from 10 - 11.30am.
    • In partnership with the Cross Street Centre.
  • Jersey Farm Cafe (AL4 9RG)
    • Starting in January 2024 and taking place on the second Friday of the month from 2.30 - 4pm.
    • In partnership with Ridgeway Church.
  • St Saviour's Church Hall (AL1 4DF)
    • Starting in December 2023 on the second Tuesday of the month from 2 - 3.30pm.
    • In partnership with St Saviour's Church.


Compassionate Cafes are free to attend. If you'd like more information, email or call 01923 330330.

Reverse Advent Calendars to Get You in the Christmas Spirit

Borehamwood Foodbank and St Albans & District Foodbank are taking part in this year's Reverse Advent Calendar. A Reverse Advent Calendar is a way of donating specific items a foodbank is in need of in time for Christmas. Everything from nuts, confectionery, tinned fish and vegetables, coffee, long-life fruit juice, cooking sauces, and Christmas staples may be included. All donations will go to someone in need in your local area.

Click below to check out each foodbank's calendar:

Tree Recycling Service Returns this Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner – and so is the Isabel Hospice Christmas tree recycling service!

In exchange for a suggested donation, volunteers will collect and recycle your real Christmas trees between 5th and 10th January 2024 in the following postcode areas:

  • Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield: AL6 0/9, AL7 1/2/3/4, AL8 6/7, AL9 5/6/7, ALI0 0/8/9,
  • Sawbridgeworth and Bishop's Stortford: CM21 0/9, CM23 2/3/4/5,
  • Potters Bar, Cuffley, Waltham Cross, Broxbourne and Hoddesdon: EN6 4, EN7 5/6, EN8 0/7/8/9/, EN10 6/7, EN11 0/8/9 SG2 7,
  • Stevenage, Knebworth, Buntingford, Much Hadham, Ware and Hertford: SG2 7, SG3 6, SG9 0/9, SG10 6, SG11 1/2, SG12 7/8/9/0, SG13 7/8, SG14 1/2/3.

You can book your tree collection by clicking here.

Watford's Suicide Prevention Debated in Parliament

Dean Russell, MP for Watford, visited the South West Herts Samaritans branch in October. On 17th November, International Men's Day, he mentioned his visit in a debate in Parliament.

"I visited the Samaritans in Watford recently and found that they do incredible work in ensuring that they are at the end of the telephone line for somebody—and, of course, there is anonymity to ensure that they are supported."

Click here to read Dean Russell's full statement.

Volunteering Opportunities

Batford Memorial Hall

Located in East Harpenden, Batford Memorial Hall is an ideal venue for celebratory occasions and events. Facilities include two halls, a fully equipped kitchen, disabled access and private car park. The charity also works with the local elderly community hosting events, such as their upcoming Christmas Party.

The charity is in need of friendly, reliable volunteers to help with the opening and closing of the hall. If you would be interested in finding out more, please email or call 01727 649950.

Befriending Volunteers

St Albans Good Neighbour Scheme is looking for Befriending Volunteers in the St Albans area to help with their befriending service. This service helps to provide regular contact and companionship for those who are isolated or lonely in their own home.

The service does not include providing care for clients that should otherwise be provided by professional health workers or carers.

Click here to view the full role description.

Alternatively, click here to see all volunteering opportunities available with St Albans Good Neighbour Scheme.

Christmas Chefs - micro-volunteering opportunity

Open Door St Albans is in search of volunteers who can inspire hope and joy in others, as well as being competent cooks to help prepare a roast gammon banquet for 17 people. Volunteers will be preparing and cooking all food on-site on Boxing Day (Tuesday 26th December) ahead of lunch being served at 2.30pm.

The Night Shelter is open every day and Christmas is no exception, but some of Open Door's regular volunteers will be taking a well earned break over Christmas and there are some gaps to fill. This is a one-off micro-volunteering opportunity, meaning that there is no long-term commitment.

To learn more and apply for this volunteering opportunity, click here.

Compassionate Communities Group Volunteers

As you have read in our Exciting Charity News! section, Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care is expanding their Compassionate Cafes in St Albans and they need Compassionate Communities volunteers to help.

Compassionate Communities Group Volunteers a trained local people who offer their companionship, time, social and emotional support to help people who are suffering with a loss such as bereavement. Click here to visit the role description and apply.

Alternatively, click here to browse through the other volunteering roles available with Rennie Grove Peace Hospice Care.

Drop -In Volunteers

Centre 33 provides a drop-in centre for people who are homeless, sofa-surfing, otherwise in unsecure accommodation, or in accommodation and having difficulties in coping owing to lack of food, limited budget or other problems.

The centre provides hot meals and drinks, and somewhere to meet on Sunday to Thursday evenings at the Salvation Army Citadel in Victoria Street, St Albans. And separately at 2a Spicer Street, providing a morning meal, hot drinks, the opportunity for a shower and some access to second hand clothes on Monday to Fridays.Centre 33, at both locations, offers a warm and welcoming place for our visitors to get off the streets and meet friends in addition to the provision of nourishing meals.

Click here to see the full role description.

Office Receptionist Volunteer

The Living Room is looking volunteer receptionists to help at their St Albans and Watford locations. The Living Room support Hertfordshire adult residents committed to abstaining from their addiction. Basic duties include welcoming clients, making drinks and answering the phone.

Click here to view the full role description.

Winter Beds Project Volunteers

For the past 6 years the Open Door charity has provided safe, warm beds for people who would otherwise be rough sleeping in St Albans over winter. The Winter Beds Project works to prevent people dying on the streets when the temperatures plummet by providing them with self contained accommodation and access to support services that address their housing and support needs.

The charity is in need of Winter Beds Project Volunteers to join in with evening shifts which involve setting up cabins, greeting guests, allocating cabins and handing over to night staff, and morning shifts: handing over from the night staff, waking guests, clearing and cleaning cabins, arranging transportation for guests. Volunteers could also get involved with doing the laundry.

If you are interested in learning more or applying to volunteer with this project, click here. To browse all of Open Door's current volunteering roles, click here.

Calling All Members!

If your charity has a volunteering opportunity or some exciting news you'd like us to promote on this page, please email or call 01727 649940.