It’s the most wonderful time of the year- frost has begun to descend, and towns up and down the country are stringing up festive lights everywhere. But, for many people, it’s not such a jovial time. According to North East Child Poverty, 24% of children in the North East are living below the poverty line.
The effects of this are obvious- they may live in unsuitable housing, not have enough food to eat, and suffer from acute illnesses as a result. There is the cycle of poverty too- where this is a recurrent problem through families. Unemployment remains a big issue here in North East England, and this is the major contributor to poverty. At present, the North East has the joint highest percentage of unemployment in the UK at 5.5%. With this in mind, here are some things you can do to help children and adults in need this Christmas.
Cash for Kids is a national network of charities, and is in partnership with local radio stations including Metro Radio in Newcastle. They help children up to 18 years old by giving grants to children’s charities and organisations across 21 areas across the UK. Every year they run a programme called Mission Christmas, where people donate gifts to brighten a child’s day. If you want to donate, you can drop off new and unwrapped gifts to the SCA office in the Palatine Centre by Friday the 15th of December. Here’s a short film showing what they do:
Alternatively, The Salvation Army also has a Christmas Present Appeal which also distributes gifts to people in need. You can go to their charity shop on Saddler Street with a new and unwrapped present until mid-December.
Crisis, a charity that helps homeless people across the UK, has openings for volunteers from 24th to 27th of December in Newcastle. They’re looking for a variety of people to fill a number of roles, including catering, entertainment, transport, and wellbeing. Time is a very valuable thing to give to others, and you could make a big difference in someone’s life.
For those in Stockton, A Way Out is a local charity that helps women, young people, and families through a number of issues such as poverty, exploitation, and addiction. They have launched their Christmas appeal which aims to give a gift and a food parcel to every service user. They’re looking for long-life food items and toiletries, board games and other gifts. They can be handed into The Gate in Stockton before the 13th of December.
But it’s not just about Christmas, people struggle all year round. There are many volunteering opportunities available at Durham and Stockton. You can visit the SCA website to find out more and see how you can give your time.
Altogether, we are in a very privileged position to be able to go to university and to enjoy better prospects than many people. It’s important to remember those who haven’t had the chances we’ve had, especially in times of celebration for many people.