Lend a helping hand this Christmas
There are many ways you can make a difference for those not at home in the festive period.
Christmas time can be an incredibly tough time of year for some people, for a whole host of reasons. Why not get into the festive spirit this year and support one of these fantastic charities and initiatives which help vulnerable people this Christmas?
Help a vulnerable young person through Centrepoint
Youth homelessness is a major issue, with an estimated 121,000 young people asking for help with homelessness last year – a number that may still rise in the aftermath of the pandemic. There’s a whole range of reasons that lead young people to become homeless, from violence at home to mental health issues.
Centrepoint has been helping young homeless people since 1969, providing accommodation, health support, food, education, life skills and a friendly face to those in need. With the cold weather taking hold, the tumultuous Christmas period approaching and the ongoing financial impact of Covid, thousands of young people need urgent help.
What can I do?
Through Centrepoint’s website you can make a Christmas donation of either £25 to pay for a hot meal and bed, £50 to pay for essential supplies, or £144 for a room at Centrepoint for a whole year – or, you can choose your own donation amount.
You can also spread the cheer by giving a Christmas gift to Centrepoint on behalf of a loved one. Christmas dinners, clothing bundles, study kits, counselling sessions, furniture, kitchen starter packs – there are so many ways to help, however much you are able to donate.
Find out more at centrepoint.org.uk
Help feed those in need through the Trussell Trust
The Trussell Trust has a simple vision: of a UK where there’s no need for food banks, because everyone can afford food. As the country’s largest network of food banks, they are working towards this vision by providing emergency food and support to people in poverty and crisis situations.
The Trust works with more than 1,200 food banks across the UK, providing nutritionally-balanced food to some of the 14 million people currently living in poverty. Donated food is sorted and checked by over 40,000 volunteers, before being given to people who have been identified as being in crisis. In addition to the emergency food supplies, volunteers also provide practical support and a friendly face for anyone using the food bank.
What can I do?
There are so many ways you can support the Trussell Trust over the Christmas period, whether you’d like to give your time, money or goods. You can set up a one-off donation or regular payments via the website, donate food and other goods at your local food bank, or even ask your friends and family to make a donation in lieu of Christmas presents this year.
If you are able to give your time, whether it’s a few days or a few hours, find out if there are any volunteering opportunities at your local food bank.
To find out more and locate your nearest food bank, visit trussell.trust.org
Help end homelessness through Crisis at Christmas
Crisis is the national charity for homeless people in the UK. With 50 years behind it, the charity is at the forefront of leading a campaign against the growing problem of homelessness, working directly without thousands of people every year. Depending on the needs of the individual, Crisis provides a range of services including education, training and advice to both homeless people and housing professionals to help those already in need, and tackle the issues at the heart of the homelessness problem.
The charity, which is backed by a number of high-profile figures, runs a Christmas campaign every year. Thousands of volunteers are mobilised to provide extra support, including hosting an ‘Open Christmas’ at Crisis centres where people experiencing homelessness can receive food and shelter.
What can I do?
It’s easy to donate to Crisis at Christmas – one donation of £29.06 will provide a place to stay, hot meal, Christmas dinner and companionship for one homeless person at a Crisis Christmas centre.
You could also pay for a Crisis Kit to help someone take the first steps out of homelessness – starting from a Welcome Kit for just £10, all the way up to a Housing Kit for £250. You can also donate your unwanted goods – check online to see what’s on the wishlist at your local Crisis centre – or just donate what you can.
Find out more at crisis.org.uk
Help give people a voice through Shelter
People who are facing homelessness, or have already lost their home, are in need of not only emergency accommodation, food and supplies, but also a support and advocate for them. Shelter was founded in 1966 with the mission of providing a voice for the millions of homeless people in the UK – through providing information and support, as well as enacting real change within communities and at a governmental level.
With the added financial and emotional pressures of lockdown and the pandemic, instances such as evictions are more catastrophic than ever. Shelter can help in several ways: by providing in-person one-to-one services related to housing issues, by offering expert online support including a webchat service, by operating a free emergency helpline open 365 days a year, and with solicitors who provide free legal advice and attend court.
What can I do?
Shelter’s website is a great starting point to get some inspiration on how you can help. Take a look at the great online store where you can buy goods and gifts, find your nearest charity shop and donate your unwanted items, or register to take part in one of their fundraising events.
Of course you can also donate any amount of money, or leave a gift in your will.
For more information on how you can help, visit shelter.org.uk