Christmas is traditionally a time of goodwill when many of us look to help those less fortunate such as those who are homeless
Over 5,200 children are homeless right now meaning they will wake up in temporary accommodation on Christmas morning.
Launching its Christmas Homelessness: Far From Fixed campaign housing and homelessness charity Shelter labelled the situation a “disgrace” and said it was a “national badge of shame” for Scotland.
In total, there is expected to be around 10,555 households living in temporary accommodation come 25 December with many more living rough on the streets.
While Shelter's latest campaign is rightly calling for long term policy changes to combat homelessness many organisations, including Shelter itself, are also looking to provide immediate assistance to help those less fortunate get through the winter.
Here are some that you might consider helping this Christmas:
Buy a bed at the Glasgow Winter Night Shelter
A gift of £24.63 will enable someone who is sleeping rough to enjoy a safe, warm night’s sleep at a shelter operated by a partnership of more than a dozen charities and organisations in the city committed to tackling homelessness, including Glasgow City Mission, Turning Point Scotland, Simon Community Scotland, Glasgow Homelessness Network and Shelter. After breakfast, they’ll be connected to council homeless caseworkers, NHS services for homeless people and daytime services across the city designed to tackle the root causes and help people move forwards with their lives.
Buy your Christmas tree from the Bethany Christian Trust
Bethany, a charity which tries to prevent homelessness, sells Christmas trees across Scotland to support its work. You can buy online right up until the second week in December and have you tree delivered. All its trees are high quality grade one Nordman Firs, sustainably grown in Scotland.
Buy a homeless person a gift from the Rock Trust’s Amazon wish list
The Rock Trust, which supports young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, has set up an Amazon wish list meaning all you have to do is log on select something from the list and purchase it. It will then be delivered directly to the Rock Trust who will distribute it to someone who needs it. Included in the list are homeware items such as lamps, crockery and cooking utensils to help those it finds accommodation really make a house a home.
Volunteer your skills to help at the Crisis temporary Christmas centre
From hairdressers to caterers, performers to podiatrists, dedicated volunteers are needed to help bring Crisis’ temporary centre in Edinburgh for homeless people to life this Christmas. Open in Edinburgh on Christmas Day and Boxing Day the centre offers those in need somewhere warm to go that they don’t need to be alone as well as a hot meal and some pampering. Hoping to accommodate 300 people there are a range of roles available including welcoming guests, working in the kitchen, entertaining, befriending, running workshops and providing services. The charity is particularly in need of chefs, entertainers and workshop leaders. For a full list of the roles visit the charity’s website.
Donate money to the help a refugee in Scotland this Christmas
Positive Action in Housing is running its annual winter destitution surgery in Glasgow on December 20 and 21. It will be providing emergency crisis payments, food cards, hygiene packs and bus passes to people fleeing war and persecution who find themselves at risk of destitution or hunger this Christmas. It will also be providing books for children, and hot soup and home-made bread to visitors. Last year, it saw 269 families and individuals over two days to see them through Christmas and New Year. This year it expects to receive over 400 referrals. To offer the service it needs donations. You can donate to Positive Action in Housing via the charity’s mydonate site.
Buy your Christmas dinner veg from Cyrenians Farm
The Cyrenians Farm is a social enterprise located just outside Edinburgh. It’s a working farm producing fruit, vegetables and eggs; it’s also home to a community of vulnerable young people, many with experience of homelessness. The farm grows food and helps the community to grow people, providing a range of opportunities for individuals to develop skills and confidence as a step towards a settled lifestyle. It sells bags of vegetables that you can get delivered to your door direct from the farm or sometimes from other local, ethical farms. Bags include potatoes, onions, carrots, fresh mixed salad, brassica (e.g. Kale), root veg and a wild card product depending on the time of year and what’s in season.
Check your local charity shop for a bargain or rare gifts
Housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland runs charity shops across the country and uses the profits to fund its work. A great place to pick up your loved ones favourite book, CD or vinyl there are often some rare finds that are no longer produced and not available elsewhere on the high street. If you are looking for something extra special why not visit Shelter’s latest boutique charity shop on Byers Road. It sells designer goods at rock bottom prices and opened just last month.
Buy Christmas Dinner for someone homeless in Glasgow
A gift of £7 will pay for a three course Christmas dinner at Glasgow City Mission. The charity say this is a very difficult time of year for many of their guests and pull out the stops to make their Christmas dinner party a really special occasion. It also provides an opportunity for the charity’s staff and volunteers to ask how further they can help and connect people to many of their services designed to tackle root causes and rebuild people’s confidence and skills.