Busy Bees and Charities: Christmas in the voluntary sector

Charity and voluntary sector workers, and volunteers are always busy bees. But for a lot of charities, Christmas is the busiest time of the year.

From homeless shelters to food banks, debt charities to support groups; it seems the need for the support they provide significantly increases over the festive period. Emotional (and financial) support can change someone’s life, not just their Christmas.

The added cost of Christmas

With poverty at an all-time high, especially in Stoke-on-Trent, there are more and more people are finding it more and more difficult to get by. And Alice Charity is just one of the charities out there supporting families in the community.

Christmas is Alice’s busiest time of the year; the added expense of gifts, Christmas trips, nativity costumes, Christmas jumper days means that already struggling families are unable to find these additional funds. For all these reasons and more, the need for food massively increases and the charity’s foodbank, the “People’s Pantry,” becomes a lot busier at this time of year. Alice Charity also provides thousands of Christmas gifts to vulnerable families and other providers across the city.

Alice Charity’s Christmas appeals for toys, teenage gifts and Christmas food hampers means they can make a real difference to so many families across the city. Alice Charity’s campaigns and fundraising events run all year, but it’s at Christmas that more families need additional support; practically, financially, and emotionally.

Christmas without loved ones

Christmas is a time for celebrating and being with family, but this can be hard when there’s someone missing. And Stafford-based charity A Child of Mine is there for those who have lost a child.

A Child of Mine provides emotional, practical and financial support to bereaved parents and families. Support groups for Mums, Dads, siblings and families, playgroups for younger children, and pamper days for adults happen throughout the year. But at Christmas, it’s extra-special with parties, presents, lots of chocolate and Christmas cheer.

The charity’s annual memorial service is for everyone affected by the loss of a baby born sleeping, children who have died and babies miscarried, and allows grieving families to be together and remember those babies and children gone far too soon.

Santa Run for sight loss

The number of people suffering from loneliness and isolation is increasing all the time, and for those living with sight loss, it can be particularly difficult living alone. From activity sessions to home support, accommodation to befriending, Beacon Vision offer support in many different ways to people with visual impairments.

The loss of sight, be it small or big, can have a huge impact on your life. And many visually impaired people will at some point during their life experience feelings of isolation and loneliness. And that can be hugely amplified at Christmas for some. But Beacon, a local sight loss charity, don’t think anyone should be lonely at Christmas.

Christmas at Beacon is a busy time, with all their usual sessions and activities taking place, as well as Christmas events like the Charity Santa Run and Annual Christmas Fair which help to raise vital funds to support the local community. The Beacon Christmas Afternoon Tea and Christmas Lunch events also help to get people together to reduce loneliness and isolation for local residents living with sight loss.

For some charities, Christmas is the busiest time of year, and sometimes, it’s the time of year when people need the most support. Friends, family, food, presents, cards, cooking, wrapping… the list goes on and on. All the preparations we make for festivities, everyone’s run off their feet. But, the busy bees in the voluntary sector do all this Christmas prep around their charitable commitments to improve the lives of local communities! This incredible dedication doesn’t go unnoticed. Not just by those receiving help and support, but by others who work in the sector.