'Tis the season of goodwill, so here are some quick and easy ways to capture the true spirit of Christmas and help improve life for others this winter
Send a sought after Christmas card
Edinburgh is one of the loneliest cities in the UK for over 60s, and Christmas can be particularly tough. Vintage Vibes, a charitable partnership between LifeCare Edinburgh and The Broomhouse Centre and Enterprises, has created a Christmas card campaign that will ensure isolated older people get at least one personally written Christmas card this year. Text cosy to 70300 orvisit the Vintage Vibes website to order a card pack, which will be sent to your home address. You can write a personalised message and then send it on to someone who’ll appreciate it in the stamped addressed envelope enclosed in your pack.
Support Scots living with cancer
Cancer Support Scotland provides emotional and practical support on a one-to-one basis and through community based groups for people affected by cancer, including family, friends and carers. Every day 86 people in Scotland are told they have cancer, so this year’s Message in a Bauble Christmas campaign is providing an opportunity for supporters to remember people who have now lost their battle to cancer. By writing a message and donating, you will also be helping the charity to support others to live well with a cancer diagnosis. You can donate to Message in a Bauble with just one click.
Help a wee one get a good night's sleep
It’s the time of year when some of us just want to curl up and hibernate. But not all children and young people find it easy to sleep, and youngsters with disabilities can be badly affected by sleep problems. Sleep Scotland is highlighting its work to promote healthy sleep in children and young people through sleep awareness, sleep counselling and education this Christmas. For the last 15 years, the organisation has worked throughout Scotland developing sleep services and providing intensive sleep programmes for children with additional support needs by training sleep counsellors to work directly with families in need of sleep support. You can text donate using the code SLEE44 plus the amount you’d like to donate to 70070, for example SLEE44 £5 or visit sleepscotland.org.
Build a Carers Hub
More than 750,000 people in Scotland are caring for loved ones with a range of health conditions. Their tireless commitment saves the Scottish economy an estimated £10 billion a year. In Edinburgh, the charity Vocal provides a range of support for carers and is developing a new Edinburgh carer’s hub in Leith. It needs £100,000 to get the Georgian townhouse building up to scratch for its opening in the spring. The new hub will provide services such as emotional support and counselling, training, learning and social opportunities, benefits and legal advices and advice on creative short breaks and respite. Do a good deed this Christmas and support the Edinburgh carer’s hub appeal.
Speed up MS research
Join actor Alun Armstrong in supporting the MS Society’s Christmas appeal. The New Tricks star, whose sister lives with multiple sclerosis (MS), voices a a new animation about MS that “mixes astonishing facts with a pinch of festive fiction”. The story begins in Santa’s workshop where a group of clever elves are working hard to give people with MS the greatest gift of all: new treatments. They’ve found a way to speed up research, but they need your help. The charity appeal aims to raise £250,000 to fund three landmark drug repurposing trials, designed to transform existing drugs into treatments for MS. If successful, it could mean life-changing treatments are available much faster for 100,000 people in the UK who live with MS. Watch Alun’s video for the MS Society’s Christmas appeal or donate to the appeal on the MS Society website.
Be Santa for a day
There are a number of Scottish charities working to make sure that every child has something to open this Christmas. Shelter Scotland’s #SocialMediaSanta encourages you to buy a gift and post a photo on social media. Gifts will go to children living in temporary accommodation. One Parent Families Scotland also collecting gifts as part of its Twelve Weans of Christmas appeal for youngsters living with single parents who can’t afford to get them much this year.
Buy a night in a care shelter
National homelessness charity Bethany Christian Trust is giving people the chance to give back this Christmas by purchasing a voucher for its Edinburgh based winter care shelter. The Christmas gifts, which cost £21 each, are available to purchase online and will provide a person, who would otherwise be sleeping rough and homeless, overnight shelter, safety from the elements, professional support, access to a hot meal and multi-disciplinary services at the Edinburgh care shelter. The service is run by a small team of staff and relies on around 1,000 volunteers from across the Lothians.
Feed a family on Christmas Day
Circle supports families in Scotland who are struggling with poverty and health inequalities. It is raising money to provide families with festive food on Christmas Day. In the past six months Circle has referred 114 families to local foodbanks. David Tennant, a patron of Circle, says: “I really believe in what this charity does. They turn around the lives of vulnerable children, by strengthening the family unit. Circle refuses to let people’s past determine their future. Your support can really help us change lives.” Support Circle’s festive food campaign.
Turn someone into a Dementia Hero
Alzheimer Scotland’s Christmas campaign reminds people to look for the person behind the dementia diagnosis. It features four dementia heroes, including Archie Noone (pictured), who all tell their story about what it’s like to live with dementia. Donate £5 by texting the name of your hero to 70140. If you’ve not seen the TV advert, read all about the four heroes and donate online on the campaign website.
Give the Gift of Hope
Join staff from Edinburgh Airport and 30 other businesses across Scotland to Give the Gift of Hope to raise money for Children 1st. Scotland’s national children’s charity supports families to put children first, and when the worst happens it helps survivors of abuse, neglect, and other traumatic events in childhood to recover. You can donate just £5 and give the Gift of Hope to one of your own family members this year while also helping Children 1st protect vulnerable youngsters.
Light Up A Life
St. Vincent’s Hospice in Renfrewshire is inviting members of the public to sponsor a light on its Christmas tree in memory of someone special this Christmas to help support its services for people with life limiting conditions. It’s easy to donate a light in memory of a loved one on the charity’s website. Kate Lennon, chief executive of St. Vincent’s Hospice, says: “Every single penny raised from Light Up a Life makes a huge difference to the services we are able to offer our patients and families affected by life limiting conditions throughout our community. Whether this is caring for them in our inpatient unit, our day hospice or in people’s own homes, all of this is only possible with your support.” lightupalife.svh.co.uk/lightupalife