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The Gift of Giving: Homeless Charities You Can Support This Festive Period

With around 280,000 Brits homeless, homelessness has never been such a pressing issue. To put that into perspective, roughly 1 in 200 people in the Uk will find themselves sleeping rough this Christmas: alone on the streets, cold, tired, hungry and scared. I find it really hard to accept that statistic, how can we let other humans live in a way most of us would dare not want for ourselves? And how is this number, this population, getting ignored by many of us at Christmas, the time for giving and spreading joy? At Christmas, considering how you’re going to help the homeless probably isn’t that high on your Christmas priority list but now is the perfect time to help the homeless and it’s not as difficult as some of us may think.

Charity Gigs

Charity gigs are great, your good times benefits charities and communities, so why not buy a ticket as a gift, or to treat yourself this year?

In Nottingham we have Beat the streets, which is happening on the 30th Of Jan 2022. Beat the streets works closely with Framework, a leading charity in Nottingham for the aid of the homeless. They help with housing, healthcare, employment and community support and last winter they helped accommodate 258 rough sleepers in Nottingham. In 2020 the gig saw £75,000 being raised for such an amazing charity and a further 15 bags of food being donated to Emmanuel house, another great charity here in Nottingham who provides hot food, clothes, showers and a GP to rough sleepers.

Even without concert tickets you can help these charities out by donating financially directly to them or providing your time, so if there are no tickets left, fear not!

Another charity concert/ event to buy tickets for is TABOO – the Boy George musical at the London palladium, also happening on the 30th of January. The money raised goes to two charities: Terrence Higgins Trust, the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity, and Shelter who provide 24/7 care nationally and locally to the homeless. Shelter reported 6.5 million people visiting their online help support and using their helpline in the past year alone and so their work is so important in supporting those with housing and homelessness issues.

Shelter also has a great online shop in which your purchases go directly to supporting the cause too. You can buy their Christmas gift wrap to wrap your presents or even come Christmas crackers to have around your table.

Christmas dinners

Potentially my favorite part of Christmas is dinner, so for Christmas why don’t you give someone the joy of a hot roast?

Centrepoint is a charity that helps 16–25-year Olds and whose aim is to end youth homelessness by 2037. In the past year they helped over 10,000 young homeless people and provided more than 1,000 bed spaces for those in need. Their work is fundamental in helping young people get back on their feet and support themselves again. What I like about Centrepoint is you can donate on behalf of someone, making your donations a great gift this year. You can purchase and donate not only a Christmas dinner (which is only £10 which makes it a great secret Santa gift, right?) but toiletry sets, counselling sessions and Christmas jumpers.

They also have events you can join and participate in in 2022 which are centered around fundraising, such as running a half marathon, joining RideLondon and the Yorkshire three peaks challenge. After signing up they give you support in your training and fundraising for them, you also become a member of their team in that event. Although, if these events sound too demanding then they have a plethora of other events you can sign up for and participate in such as fun runs.

Crisis is another charity providing Christmas dinners this festive period and, like Centrepoint, this is not the only gift you can give. They have an amazon Wishlist you can buy from, a stocking you can fill and kits such as wellbeing and job starter packs that all help the homeless this Christmas and new year.

The big issue

Having Launched in 1991 the big issue has been on our streets for a long time, it’s something were all familiar with, but are we genuinely aware of what they do within our communities?

The big issue’s focus is on integrating the vulnerable back into our communities by offering homeless people, or those at risk of homelessness and poverty, the chance to earn an income to support themselves. The big issue foundation, the charity attached to the magazine, helps rough sleepers and those living in poverty in areas such as employment, housing and healthcare and the big issue itself, since its launch, has helped over 92,000 vendors earn £115 million. Buying a big issue this festive period is a great way to help the community around you.

The big issue also has a shop attached to their site which is a perfect way that you can again donate. The shop also promotes ethical consumerism and only sells from organisations that put the planet and people first.

NotJustClothing is a company which works closely with the big issue. Having started in 2017, they create ethical and sustainable clothing items that provoke a positive social impact. On their website you can buy yourself, or a loved one, a Christmas jumper this festive period and be a part of the £85,000 raised for the charity. The jumpers aren’t your normal kind either, with one featuring Greggs and another David Attenborough, there’s something for everyone. It’s not just Christmas jumpers on their website either, they have a harry styles homage tee for the harry styles lover in your life, Matt Hancock’s face on a pair of boxers (a personal favorite) and reusable facemasks.

Unhoused. Org

Unhoused is an organisation whose concept is an entirely new and a fresh way to donate to charities, you simply buy from the store what you will directly give to the charities they’re partnered with (the salvation army, Sewa and Healthy living projects) and, so far, they have saved 2,000 lives and have had over 100,000 items of clothing donated. The interesting, fresh thing about the clothing you’re purchasing to donate is the groundbreaking technology behind it. Powered by FreshTech, the clothes are durable, sustainable and self-cleaning which all make a lasting difference in the lives and clothing of the unhomed.

The salvation army, one of Unhoused’s partners, have a Christmas appeal you can donate to also. They have churches and centers all around the country collecting new, unwrapped toys and gifts for children who may not be fortunate enough to receive one this year. Their work focuses on providing not only emergency accommodation for those in need, but they also focus on the rehabilitation of the homeless within the community so it’s another great charity you can support this Christmas time.

Stand4socks

Stand4socks is a brand that focuses on donating socks to the homeless. Having discovered that socks were the number one thing wanted by homeless charities, their philosophy focuses on the idea you buy a pair, they donate a pair and since their startup they have donated over 151,000 pairs to those in need. Not only do their socks focus on durability, they also have the funkiest designs, including a Nottingham skyline. Socks are usually the loathed gift of Christmas but a gift of these socks is not only a gift for the recipient it’s a gift for someone in need so they will be loathed no more.

Christmas has always been a time for giving so it’s time to learn how we can give to others this Christmas. As we spend Christmas with our loved ones, in a house we call our home, we consider ourselves not lucky, but normal. The help you give this Christmas can make someone in need feel lucky, loved and valued, which is the least we can do.

Lois Bedford

Nottingham '24

First year history student with, ironically, an interest in current affairs. You can find me in a charity shop, museum or, being realistic, my bed.
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