Your chance to make a dif­fer­ence this Christ­mas

Joe Shute in­tro­duces the three char­i­ties cho­sen for this year’s ap­peal which need your vi­tal sup­port

The Daily Telegraph - - Christmas Charity Special -

For 28 years, The Daily Tele­graph has ap­pealed to our read­ers at Christ­mas – and each time you have re­sponded with ex­tra­or­di­nary gen­eros­ity. Dur­ing last year’s Tele­graph Christ­mas Char­ity Ap­peal, you sur­passed even the high bench­mark we have come to ex­pect, rais­ing in ex­cess of £560,000, with more than £80,000 be­ing pledged on our De­cem­ber phone-in day alone.

Over the his­tory of the Tele­graph Christ­mas Char­ity Ap­peal, we have typ­i­cally sought to of­fer three very dif­fer­ent causes wor­thy of your sup­port. This year, how­ever, there is a re­cur­ring theme – one that has cropped up time and again dur­ing our re­port­ing of the past 12 months.

Men­tal health is one of the great strug­gles of our age, some­thing that can af­fect ev­ery one of us and at any point in our lives – from the iso­la­tion felt by an el­derly per­son liv­ing alone, to the de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety cours­ing through a young teenage mind as they scroll through so­cial me­dia feeds.

Thanks to the work of cam­paign­ers and ad­vo­cates, not least the younger mem­bers of the Royal fam­ily, never has our aware­ness of men­tal ill­ness been so high. And yet, at the same time, or so it seems, never have we been so firmly in its grip.

Cur­rent fig­ures sug­gest one in four of us – both adults and chil­dren – suf­fers some form of men­tal ill­ness each year. The Tele­graph Christ­mas Char­ity Ap­peal for 2018, then, will fo­cus on three in­di­vid­ual causes with one com­mon aim: to sup­port those ex­pe­ri­enc­ing men­tal health dif­fi­cul­ties and to prevent them suf­fer­ing in si­lence.

Be­low, you can read about the work of this year’s cho­sen char­i­ties – Chang­ing Faces, The Fire Fighters Char­ity and Young­minds. But first, it is worth re­cap­ping what has been achieved through the money you do­nated last year.

One of our 2017 ben­e­fi­cia­ries was Fare­share, the UK’S largest char­ity ded­i­cated to fight­ing hunger and food waste. Alyson Walsh, com­mer­cial di­rec­tor at the char­ity, said this year has been a record-break­ing one, thanks in no small part to the gen­eros­ity of Tele­graph read­ers.

“We in­creased the amount of good qual­ity sur­plus food we de­liv­ered to char­i­ties by 25 per cent, cre­at­ing a to­tal of 36mil­lion meals for vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple,” she said, de­scrib­ing the re­sponse to the ap­peal as “tremen­dous”.

An­other of last year’s cho­sen char­i­ties was Ca­nine Part­ners, an as­sis­tance dog char­ity, awarded more than £214,000 by the ap­peal.

Nicola Mar­tin, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the char­ity, said the vi­tal funds re­ceived have helped it con­tinue to train dogs to trans­form the lives of peo­ple with a range of dis­abil­i­ties, boost­ing their con­fi­dence and in­de­pen­dence.

“The amaz­ing amount of money we re­ceived from the Tele­graph Christ­mas Char­ity Ap­peal en­abled us to cre­ate even more amaz­ing part­ner­ships and to con­tinue our life-trans­form­ing work,” she said.

Our fi­nal 2017 char­ity was Miss­ing Peo­ple, for which you raised £158,000. The char­ity works to sup­port fam­i­lies with miss­ing loved ones and vul­ner­a­ble run­aways. The re­cent sight of de­tec­tives dig­ging up a pa­tio in Sut­ton Cold­field to try to fi­nally dis­cover the body of es­tate agent Suzy Lam­plugh, who dis­ap­peared in 1986, showed that the an­guish of those with miss­ing rel­a­tives never truly ends.

Ac­cord­ing to Jo Youle, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the char­ity, the money pro­vided by the Tele­graph ap­peal en­abled Miss­ing Peo­ple to pro­vide round-the-clock sup­port for more than three weeks, man­ning its free and con­fi­den­tial 24/7 helpline and main­tain­ing teams of cri­sis work­ers to pro­vide spe­cial­ist help.

“We are so grate­ful to the Tele­graph read­ers for rais­ing such an in­cred­i­ble amount and mak­ing a real dif­fer­ence over Christ­mas,” she said.

Courage to face the world: ser­vice users So­phie, Sam, Tulsi, Rory and Mar­cus are all grate­ful to Chang­ing Faces. With your help, the char­ity – and our other good causes – could trans­form many more lives in 2019

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