Merry Christmas to one and all! I hope you’re having a fabulous day, surrounded by loved ones and mince pies, and that Santa left you something special under the tree. Although Christmas is a time for family to get together and show how much they care, many people aren’t quite as lucky. This special kind of year can be incredibly hard for those facing difficult circumstances, whether or not it’s facing poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, mental health problems or suicidal thoughts. On this day where many of us are lucky enough to have a warm home, full belly and pile of presents we probably don’t need, why not do a little good and support an amazing charity. Here are five that are extremely close to my heart and who I’ll be supporting this festive season.
1. Give & Makeup
Set up in 2010 by the amazing power-force that is Caroline Hirons, Give and Makeup’s sole purpose is to get everyday essentials into the hands of women and children who need them the most. Each week two women in the United Kingdom are murdered by a partner or ex-partner; one woman in four experiences domestic violence in their lifetime. Give & Makeup ‘re-homes’ beauty products and every day essentials from those of us with far too many for our own good, giving them to women who leave their homes with nothing to their name than what they’re standing up in. If you receive beauty products in your stocking that aren’t your cup of tea, or simply decide to have a Christmas clean out, why not send any unwanted items to someone who can treasure them?
2. The Samaritans
An incredible charity that helps millions of people in more ways than anyone can imagine, at Christmas they’re more in demand than any other time of year. Donating a small amount can ensure there’s someone at the end of the phone 24/7 whenever they’re needed – I’ve had friends volunteer to be a Samaritan over the years, so I know the vital work these incredible volunteers do. Whether or not it’s being a shoulder to cry on, a voice of reason or just someone to talk to on a hard day, supporting The Samaritans could make a huge difference to many lives this Christmas.
3. Great Ormond Street Hospital
It may be cliched, but giving a little gift to a child in need could put a huge smile on their face. GOSH does incredible work, having helped my cousin from the day he was born up until his 18th birthday, and the children within their wards are probably the most positive you’ll ever meet. However, if your kids or loved ones are lucky enough to receive a huge new pile of toys, why not donate their old or unwanted ones to children that could really do with them? Staying in hospital is hard enough, especially over Christmas, but GOSH try to make it as fun as possible.
Many families struggle to even keep a roof over their heads at this time of year, let alone leave a huge pile of goodies under a Christmas tree. Shelter aims to support families in need, as well as those suffering from homelessness, by ensuring they have somewhere warm to stay. They provide not only practical advice and support, but they also campaign for change and work with local authorities to ensure families are safe. As you snuggle in front of the TV with a box of chocolates after a huge Christmas lunch, why not donate a small amount of money to help someone who’s not as fortune as you this year?
Another charity that’s close to my heart, Refuge provides emergency accommodation and support for women fleeing abuse. Their essential shelters are more than just a roof over a head; they give women the time and space to make decisions about their futures, while their specialist staff are on hand to provide emotional and practical support. This Christmas your donation could mean the difference between life and death – providing everything from a care package to ensure they’re clean and healthy, to legal support and installation of panic buttons. With up to 4,000 women suffering the ultimate price at the hands of their partners every year, it’s time to make a change.
Will you be supporting any charities this Christmas?