Exchanging presents, eating delicious food and spending special time with family; we’re lucky enough to be able to enjoy the wonderful things about Christmas, but not everyone is as fortunate. In the spirit of giving, we thought we’d round up the charities that could really use some extra help at this time of year. From people suffering with mental health and those sleeping rough to elderly people spending the festive season alone and animals in need of rescue, here are 19 causes very worthy of whatever you can spare this Christmas…
Love Grace Handbag Appeal – Set up in memory of 21-year-old Grace Millane, who was tragically murdered while backpacking in New Zealand in 2018, the Love Grace Handbag appeal collects handbags and fills them with useful items for women in need. The initiative pays tribute to Grace’s love of handbags, and works in collaboration with domestic abuse charity Changing Pathways to help women who have been affected by domestic violence. To support Love Grace, you can either donate a filled handbag, run your own appeal or purchase from an Amazon Wishlist. Donate here.
Crisis – By donating just £29.06 to the nation’s leading homeless charity, you can provide help with a safe place to stay, hot meals and a Christmas dinner, volunteer companionship or year-round support including education and training. Donate here.
Age UK/Age Cymru – According to Age UK, almost 1.5 million older people feel lonelier at Christmas than at any other time of year. A donation of just £10 can help answer two calls to the Age UK helpline. In Wales, Age Cymru is running a shoe box appeal where you can donate wrapped boxes filled with gifts that will be delivered to either a care home or someone who receives a friendship call from the charity’s Friend in Need telephone befriending service. Donate to Age UK here. Find out more about the Age Cymru shoe box appeal here.
Hartlepool Giving Tree – For a decade, shoppers have visited the Hartlepool Giving Tree, a Christmas tree in the borough’s Middleton Grange Shopping centre, to buy gifts for disadvantaged or vulnerable children. Last year’s lockdown made IRL visits impossible, so the gift list was published online instead. This year, you can donate via the actual tree or the virtual list, purchasing everything from a doll for a 2-year-old to headphones for a 17-year-old. The Giving Tree is in partnership with Mission Christmas, the gift giving arm of charity Cash4Kids, whose work aims to improve the lives of children and young people affected by poverty, illness, neglect or have additional needs. Donate here.
The Winter Toy Appeal – Set up by Basil and Jenna Fansa, the husband and wife behind Local Buyers Club (a membership club encouraging people to shop local and support independent businesses by offering them discounts), The Winter Toy Appeal provides toys for children experiencing extreme poverty in London. Money raised via the Go Fund Me page will be used to buy new toys from independent shops in London – last year 5,600 gifts were given to children in the capital. Donate here.
Social Bite – The Scottish homeless charity’s Festival of Kindness is a mission to provide 300,000 meals, gifts, and essential items to homeless and vulnerable people. This year, a ‘Tree of Kindness’ will be installed in five cities – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, and London – where you can drop off items chosen from a wish list. Alternatively you can donate online; £5 could buy someone a Christmas dinner, £20 could buy someone a bed with support for the night or choose a nominal amount (from as little as £5) to go towards everything from a hot water bottle to a laptop and year’s internet supply for a homeless person moving into a new flat. Donate online here. Find out more about Social Bite’s ‘Tree of Kindness’ here.
Book Trust – Reading is a simple pleasure so many of us take for granted, but not every child has access to books. By donating £10 to Book Trust, you can send a book to a vulnerable child. Half of the books bought will be sent to children in care who may be spending their first Christmas away from their families, and the other half will be given out through community food banks to children in families facing challenging circumstances. Donate here.
Refuge – There are multiple ways to donate to the domestic abuse charity this year. You can buy a parcel to support women and children escaping domestic abuse, send a gift to a woman or child at a refuge or donate on a monthly basis to provide year-round support. Donate here.
Norah’s North Pole – This Sunderland-based charity was set up in memory of grandmother Norah who would make Christmas boxes for children who would go without. Norah’s daughter, a social worker, would then deliver these on Christmas Eve to families most in need. Now, Norah’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are continuing her kind work with Norah’s North Pole, successfully delivering 13,876 Santa sacks over the past 6 years. To get involved, you can donate via the Norah’s North Pole Go Fund Me page, the Amazon Wish List or by sending gift donations to local drop off points around the North East. Donate here.
Glasgow Basket Brigade – This female-led charity initiative is inspired by the Tony Robbins International Basket Brigade, a 100% volunteer-run program dedicated to feeding those in need by providing baskets of donated food and household items. The initiative is built on a simple but powerful concept: One small act of generosity on the part of one caring person can transform the lives of hundreds. To support, simple choose which type of basket you’d like to create – ‘Preen and Pamper’, ‘Christmas Treats, ‘Comfy and Cosy’ or Baby’s First Christmas’ – then fill it, spending no more than £15, and deliver to your local drop off point. Find out more here.
B&M Stores – Next time you swing by your local B&M store, why not pick up a toy to donate to the Cash for Kids Mission Christmas appeal. Set up to help the 1 in 3 children living in poverty in the UK, last year’s initiative helped 254,352 children wake up to presents on Christmas morning. Find the drop off points here.
Oxfam Unwrapped – Stuck for a present idea? Oxfam offers project inspired gift cards that deliver life-saving supplies to people around the world. You can support female entrepreneurs, provide education for girls, purchase a water pump, help farmer’s facing climate change and so much more, from as little as £10. Donate here.
Shelter – As well as giving you the option to make a one-off or regular donation, this year, homeless charity Shelter has made it even easier to help those in need by launching an innovative YouTube video of a virtual log fire. By watching ‘The Good Fire’ for as little as a minute or all day long, you will generate ad revenue that will be donated to the charity. Donate here or watch the video here.
RSPCA Christmas Rescue – With 2,500 animals taken into the care of the RSPCA in 2019 and 3.2 million pets bought during lockdown, the charity faces rescuing and re-homing a lot of animals in 2021. This year, the charity is asking for donations (from £15) to help answer calls to its Animal Rescue Line, keep Animal Rescue Teams on the road over Christmas and look after the animals in its care. Donate here.
The Trussell Trust – The last year has seen unprecedented levels of need for food banks, and theTrussell Trust supports a nationwide network of food banks to provide emergency food and support to people in poverty. Help make sure those who are struggling can enjoy a meal this Christmas by donating food to your local bank or supermarket (they also accept household supplies and toiletries) or donating directly to The Trussell Trust – a match-funding offer means that all donations up to January 31st will be doubled at no extra cost to you. Donate here.
Mind – The pandemic has taken a huge toll on our mental health, and for many people, this gets worse during the festive period. Mental Health charity is asking for donations to help with everything from running their vital Infoline call service to campaigning for better mental health services from the Government. Donate here.
SSAFA – The Armed Forces charity has found that nearly a quarter of service personnel are experiencing loneliness in the lead up to Christmas this year. Donations will help the organisation to support military families who may be apart at this time of year, veterans and those transitioning to civilian life. Donate here.
Choose Love – The Choose Love shop is the world’s first to sell real products for refugees and displaced communities. From essentials for daily survival to the tools to build a better future, each item available represents a similar product or service provided by one of the global organisations supported by Choose Love. Buy for yourself, on a loved one’s behalf or send an e-gift card here.
Centrepoint – Research by the youth homeless charity has found that young people sleeping on the streets face violence and abuse. £25 could pay for a hot meal and a bed, £50 could pay for an essentials pack of toiletries, bedding and towels and £144 could pay for a room at Centrepoint for a whole year. You can also buy festive gifts including a Christmas dinner, jumper, and present to open on Christmas day or donate a nominal amount of your choice. Donate here.