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
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