Money may be tight this year, but if you're able to give back to those less fortunate, there are plenty of ways to make a difference to someone's Christmas across Gloucestershire.
From sending specially-designed Christmas cards, to stuffing a box full of goodies for those in need, SoGlos shares 13 Christmas charity initiatives to get involved with this festive season.
Lilian Faithfull Care's Christmas cards
The last few years have been extra challenging for those living and working in care homes, but Gloucestershire-based Lilian Faithfull Care has been doing everything it can to keep its residents safe and happy.
To raise funds for its vital services this Christmas, the charity is selling special greetings cards — all designed by the winners of its Christmas card design competition, which encouraged staff, residents and their families to get creative.
The cards are available in packs of five for £2.50 and can be purchased from Lilian Faithfull's Tewkesbury charity shop, as well as its care homes, day hubs and head office in Cheltenham.
Sue Ryder's December Daily Dash
National healthcare charity, Sue Ryder, is encouraging its supporters to sign up to the December Daily Dash — taking on the challenge of running, jogging or walking 5k every day in December 2022 to fundraise for its expert care and spread the word about the charity's fantastic work.
All money raised will help Sue Ryder's team of nurses to continue providing compassionate end-of-life care and helping families to say proper goodbyes, as well as supporting its neurological care and bereavement support. It hits particularly close to home, with the charity operating the only in-patient unit for specialist palliative care in Gloucestershire — the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.
Cheltenham Festivals' Big Give
Cheltenham Festivals is getting involved with The Big Give Christmas Challenge again for 2022. It's asking for donations to help Cheltenham Music Festival grow by supporting those who wouldn't normally have the opportunity to be involved in music and nurturing young talent through their Composer Academy and Musicate programme in schools.
From Tuesday 29 November to Tuesday 6 December 2022, every £1 donated will be matched, up to £20,000. 100 per cent of the money raised will go towards ensuring everyone can create and experience the joy of music in the year to come. Donations can be made via the Cheltenham Festivals website.
Cheltenham Animal Shelter's Winter raffle
Animal lovers unite! Cheltenham Animal Shelter works hard year-round to rescue, rehabilitate and support dogs, cats and other furry friends all the way through the adoption process. This Christmas 2022, it's hosting its own raffle, so it can continue caring for pets through the winter season.
With a top prize of £300 and runner-up prizes including entry for four people to Cotswold Wildlife Park and a bespoke watercolour pet portrait by Gloucestershire-based artist Sarah Judd, you'd be barking mad to miss out!
Tickets are £1 each and available online only, via the Cheltenham Animal Shelter website. It closes on Monday 9 January 2023.
Pied Piper Appeal's Christmas raffle
With prizes including a three-night stay in New York City for two; two tickets to the FA Cup Final; and tickets to see Harry Styles at Wembley Stadium, the online Pied Piper Christmas raffle is well-worth getting tickets for!
Tickets cost £2, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going straight to the Pied Piper Appeal, which helps to support and care for sick children in the county — from providing specialist equipment to the children's centre at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, to helping children with life-limiting illnesses and their families to enjoy the holiday season as much as possible.
Tickets will be drawn online and sales stop at midnight on Wednesday 14 December 2022. The raffle will then be digitally drawn on Friday 16 December 2022.
Caring for Communities and People's Hamper Scamper
Bringing its annual Hamper Scamper initiative back for 2022, Caring for Communities and People (CCP) is aiming to spread some Christmas cheer by providing food parcels and gifts to disadvantaged children, young people and families.
A donation of £25 will provide a hamper for two people and there are other ways to get involved, too — from donating a Christmas gift for a child, organising a festive fundraiser or donating some luxury festive food to pack out this year's hampers.
Allsorts' Support a Support Worker appeal
Stroud-based children’s charity Allsorts provides activity sessions for children with additional needs, including sports, nature walks, music and play. Its toy library is a firm favourite among young visitors, offering a treasure trove of fun items that can be borrowed and taken home to play with.
This festive season, the charity is appealing for donations to its Christmas 2022 campaign, Support a Support Worker — raising funds that will help its invaluable and skilled staff to continue caring for and supporting children across Stroud. Donations can be made via the Allsorts website.
Great Oaks Hospice's Christmas appeal
For those living out their last days, Great Oaks Hospice in Coleford provides the care and support that loved ones deserve, with its expert palliative care given free of charge. Its 2022 Christmas appeal is calling for donations via its JustGiving page, to benefit the 1,000-plus people in its community each year.
Known locally for its exciting schedule of fundraising activities, Christmas 2022 is no different, with a candlelit supper featuring all your favourite carols; regular party nights; and a Christmas jumper day, all in aid of the hospice — so there are plenty of ways to get involved and help out a great cause.
Longfield Hospice's Light Up a Life event
With Christmas just around the corner, many of us are looking forward to celebrating with family and friends, but some people with life-limiting illnesses may still spend their last Christmas in hospital.
Gloucestershire charity, Longfield Hospice, supports adults with life-limiting and terminal illnesses by offering free, expert care in their own home. Light up a Life is an opportunity to remember and celebrate family and friends who are no longer with us, by donating and lighting a candle for someone special. The next Light up a Life celebration is on Thursday 1 December 2022 at Gloucester Cathedral.
Gloucestershire Bundles' Christmas appeal
Gloucestershire Bundles is working tirelessly this Christmas season, putting together bundles of goodies for families in need across the county. The charity is asking for donations of new pyjamas, dolls, board games and blankets for children up to the age of 16.
Donors should get in contact via the Gloucestershire Bundles website or social media channels to arrange a drop-off time. The charity also has an Amazon wish list for those who prefer to donate directly online.
Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum's Support a Square
Lovers of nature and woodlands can receive the perfect gift this yuletide season with their own sponsored plot of land at Westonbirt Arboretum, near Tetbury. For £25 the section of land is guaranteed to be specially taken care of for at least a year and can even be named after or dedicated to a loved one.
Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum is also offering the option of gifting a membership. A single membership is £40 for the year and includes benefits such as free entry to the arboretum; 10 per cent discount at the Westonbirt gift shop; early-bird booking for its Enchanted Christmas Trail; and free entry for up to four children under-18 throughout the year.
Cheltenham Open Door's Christmas donations appeal
Local charity, Cheltenham Open Door, provides free services for disadvantaged and vulnerable people, including those who are homeless or dealing with financial hardship. As well as providing Christmas dinners, it also hands out Christmas stockings and gift bags to guests who visit on the big day.
It’s accepting festive donations at its Cheltenham unit up until Friday 23 December 2022, with items on its wish list including toiletries, games and puzzles, books, edible treats and new pants and socks. It's also asking for advent calendars, so that everyone can excitedly count down to Christmas with a daily chocolate treat!
The Long Table's Christmas initiative
The Long Table in Cheltenham believes that 'the real magic of Christmas lies in sharing a meal.' In 2022, it's calling for people to host a meal, whether it be at home, at the office or at school, to bring people together for some food and company this festive season - creating The Longest Table!
By signing up, you'll receive a resource pack with everything needed to bring people together who may be lonely or hungry this Christmas. Other ways to help out include donating surplus food to their freezers, or paying a meal forward online for visitors to their community canteen in Brimscombe, near Stroud.