2020 has been quite a year for charities and there has never been a time that help and/or donations have been more welcome.

As this extraordinarily challenging year draws to a close, almost all of us will be glad to see the back of it. And yet, as with so many adverse situations, there have been unequivocally good aspects of it to emerge, those that have softened the blow that has been 2020. Chief amongst them has been the drawing together of communities and the display of humanity we have witnessed up and down the country, whether that found expression in helping our isolating neighbours or the emptying our purses for the NHS thanks to Captain Tom Moore walking up and down his garden to raise money for the overstretched and exceptionally hard working service.

This Christmas, more people than ever will be spending it alone, either because of the restrictions, or simply wishing not to take any risks. We’ve rounded up ways to make help out on Christmas Day, whether by volunteering or by donating to the myriad of charities who need help more than ever this year. Many have seen increasing demand on their services while Covid security has increased their costs and usual fundraising routes have been closed. In short, there has never been a time that help and/or donations have been more welcome.

Volunteer or Donate To Crisis At Christmas

Crisis exists to support homeless people, for whom winter is always the harshest time of the year. This year, social distancing will dictate that things are done a little differently, but the same objective applies: to offer shelter and nutritious food to people living on the streets and to treat them with dignity and respect. The charity says, ‘This Christmas our frontline teams will be providing food and festive treats. We’ll be on hand with emotional and wellbeing support, offering everything from Christmas games and advice to volunteer befrienders. Nutritious meals, somewhere to stay, help for the future – it will make such a difference to people.’ If you would like to donate, you can do so here; or to volunteer, or indeed helps in other ways, find out about opportunities in your area here.

Volunteer or Donate To Royal Voluntary Service

Throughout the country, Royal Voluntary Service exists to gather volunteers to provide support where it is needed, whether in hospitals or the community. It thus alleviates the over-burdened public services in the care of older members of society, providing, for example, companionship, the delivery of books, taking people out to the shops or drives drives. This in turn enables NHS staff to spend more time on patient care. It also runs a Virtual Village Hall, which provides online activities for people staying at home – from the creative arts to exercise, crafts, cooking and technology skills, all led by volunteers. To donate, click here; and to find out about all sorts of volunteering opportunities in hospitals and in your community, click here.

Spread The Word And Donate To Royal Trinity Hospice

Founded in 1891, Royal Trinity Hospice is London’s oldest hospice and has been providing vital palliative care to people, both in the community and those in residence. It is an exceptional place, staffed by extremely empathetic and kind doctors, nurses and volunteers. Its beautiful gardens bring joy to patients in their final days, while the ethos is always to deliver, free of charge, anything that will make those days brighter, happier and more comfortable. And yet, like all hospices, due to the already compromised health of patients, Covid has meant that almost all volunteer positions have been suspended (though you can check out the limited positions still available here). It has also meant that patients have been unable to receive the visitors who, previously, were allowed to stay 24-hours a day. In lieu, then, of physical volunteering, you can help spread the word about Royal Trinity Hospice’s appeal, donate yourself. To support other hospices facing similarly challenging times, do visit Hospice UK to find out more.

Donate or Become a Call Companion at Reengage

Reengage has one mission: to support older people who live alone and help put a stop to loneliness. The pandemic, and the fact that Covid-19 is known to hit the elderly harder, has made socialising all the more difficult. Now, instead of gathering physically, Reenage is recruiting a UK-wide Call Companions service, so that people living in isolation can receive a regular call, as often and as for as long as they want it. Find out how to donate here, and how to become one of the community of call companions here.

Donate Or Volunteer With The Trussell Trust

The Trussell Trust supports a country-side network of foodbanks to serve the 14 million people in this country who are living and locked in poverty. That number includes 4.5 millions children, who rely on it for nutritious meals . Its work – delivered across 1,200 food banks – has never been more vital, and nor has its mission to end the need for foodbanks altogether. You can get involved by giving food, money or time. Check out all the ways to help here.

Do An Online Secret Santa For The Alzheimer’s Society

If you’re looking for a way to have some fun as well as to help others, The Alzheimer’s Society has just the thing. Lockdowns and restrictions have curtailed so many fundraising efforts this year, but this appeal can be done from home – as long as you’re willing to get in the spirit. There are lots of fundraising options, from taking your Secret Santa party online to broadcasting carols from your sitting room with ‘carol-oke’. Go on, we dare you.

By Nancy Alsop
December 2020


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Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.