Faith and hope

Which char­ity will you sup­port this Christ­mas? Oldie in­flu­encers set out their stalls

The Oldie - - CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE 2018 -

Lady An­to­nia Fraser

‘Give a Book ticks ev­ery box so far as I am con­cerned. It was founded by Vic­to­ria Gray in mem­ory of her hus­band, the play­wright Si­mon Gray, and ba­si­cally does ex­actly what the ti­tle says. Although you might add that the books are given to those who are in some way de­prived of them, such as pris­on­ers and pri­mary school chil­dren. Since its foun­da­tion it has flour­ished, de­spite ex­cep­tion­ally low ad­min­is­tra­tion costs (an­other rea­son for it to be my favourite char­ity). Donors can be con­fi­dent that al­most ev­ery penny they give wings its way to a needy per­son, in the ir­re­place­able form of a book.’ give­abook.org.uk

Jon Snow

‘Be­fore be­com­ing a re­porter, I ran New Hori­zon Youth Cen­tre. Home­less­ness, un­em­ploy­ment and drugs were en­demic among 16- to 21-year-olds in Lon­don. This Christ­mas, it’s even worse. Our day cen­tre, be­tween Eus­ton and King’s Cross, works with thou­sands of young home­less, seven days a week. To­day we have some 30 bed­sits, for in­creas­ing num­bers of work­ing home­less. Please sup­port this bril­liant project.’ nhy­outh­cen­tre.org.uk

Josce­line Dim­bleby

‘I have felt close to Syria, the Syr­ian peo­ple and their lovely chil­dren ever since I lived there as a child. It has been more than tragic to see the hor­rors un­fold­ing there in re­cent years. I have sup­ported the char­ity Syria Re­lief, which has been do­ing brave and ex­cel­lent work to re­lieve the suf­fer­ing, par­tic­u­larly of chil­dren. The agony con­tin­ues, so it’s an ex­cep­tion­ally worth­while cause.’ www.syr­i­are­lief.org.uk

Ge­of­frey Palmer

‘Se­cond Chance, a won­der­ful char­ity, founded over 30 years ago and based in de­prived Portsmouth, takes in teenagers re­jected by fam­ily, school, po­lice – by so­ci­ety, in fact. They are helped back into ed­u­ca­tion, sup­ported with job ap­pli­ca­tions and gen­er­ally helped to ac­quire con­fi­dence, a sense of achieve­ment and a route back into so­ci­ety. Their slo­gan is Chang­ing the World… One Child at a Time.’ www.se­cond-chance.org.uk

Prue Leith

‘Only Con­nect is a 12-year-old char­ity, founded by my son and daugh­ter-in-law, Daniel and Emma Kruger, which en­gages with of­fend­ers while still in prison. It pro­vides a ‘club’ to go to when they get out and helps them with what they need in or­der to go straight. It pro­vides help, in­spi­ra­tion, men­tor­ing, ed­u­ca­tion, skills train­ing, friend­ship and com­mu­nity. Only Con­nect works with the fam­i­lies of of­fend­ers and with chil­dren at risk of crime. Club mem­bers set up or join ini­tia­tives (of­ten in drama, film, sport or com­mer­cial en­ter­prise), which lead them into pro­duc­tive, drug-free lives.’ www.on­ly­con­nect.lon­don

John Humphrys

‘The Kitchen Ta­ble Char­i­ties Trust makes grants (usu­ally about £10,000) to tiny lo­cal char­i­ties and projects in very poor coun­tries. Its top pri­or­i­ties are help­ing chil­dren get a ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion, sup­ply­ing wheel­chairs (made lo­cally) for

chil­dren born dis­abled, and pro­vid­ing clin­ics for moth­ers dam­aged in child­birth. We have no of­fices and no paid staff. No ad­ver­tis­ing. No mar­ket­ing. Ev­ery­one’s a vol­un­teer.’ www.kitchentablechar­i­ties.org

Alan Ay­ck­bourn

‘Pro­fes­sional ac­tors cur­rently visit 18 hospi­tals and 50 stroke clubs to read and com­mu­ni­cate with stroke vic­tims, thanks to In­ter­act Stroke Sup­port. Re­search has proved this is enor­mously ben­e­fi­cial, and fund­ing is needed so they can visit even more hospi­tals and stroke clubs. The dream of founder Caro­line Smith is that it will be­come a uni­ver­sally-recog­nised ther­a­peu­tic aid. I had a stroke in 2006. I should know.’ www.in­ter­act­stroke­sup­port.org

Melvyn Bragg

‘I would urge peo­ple to sup­port the char­ity MIND. I was pres­i­dent for 15 years and ac­tive for sev­eral years be­fore that, and I’m fully aware of the strug­gle it has amid all the other char­i­ties to make its voice and its cause heard. Men­tal ill­ness, espe­cially among young peo­ple, is in­creas­ing and more and more dif­fi­cult to man­age.’ www.mind.org.uk

Tony Black­burn

‘I think Macmil­lan nurses are quite amaz­ing. The rea­son I sup­port them is be­cause I watched the care and com­fort they gave my mother when she had can­cer a few years ago. Ev­ery day they would come to her home and talk to her while giv­ing her the treat­ment she needed. My mother passed away af­ter about five months, but dur­ing that time the care and com­fort they gave her was won­der­ful. It’s some­thing I will never for­get and al­ways be grate­ful for.’ www.macmil­lan.org.uk

Joanna Lum­ley

‘I’ve watched the bril­liance of Sight­savers sur­geons per­form­ing del­i­cate life-chang­ing op­er­a­tions for the price of a de­cent bot­tle of wine. This Christ­mas, why not dou­ble-treat your­self? Give sight to a per­fect stranger, and then toast the awe­some skill that makes it pos­si­ble.’ www.sight­savers.org

Joan Bakewell

‘At the point of dy­ing, I want my­self and my friends to have a choice. I want to know that I will not be sub­ject to un­bear­able pain and that I will have agreed with my fam­ily that my go­ing should be calm and peace­ful. In­deed I would like this to be ev­ery­one’s choice. That is why I sup­port Dig­nity in Dy­ing.’ www.dig­ni­tyindy­ing.org.uk

Bob Mar­shall-an­drews

‘Founded in 1989 to un­der­take re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Tan­za­nian Mko­mazi Re­serve, Wildlifenow started with a trac­tor and an in­spired di­rec­tor, Tony Fitzjohn. Now Mko­mazi is a na­tional park with a 13,500-acre rhino sanc­tu­ary, more than 600 ele­phants, plen­ti­ful preda­tors and herds of plains game. We fund class­rooms and a Vo­ca­tional Train­ing Cen­tre and Fitzjohn has been awarded the OBE.’ www.wildlifenow.com

John Sergeant

‘Sa­mar­i­tans is based on a sim­ple but ef­fec­tive idea: des­per­ate peo­ple need to talk. It’s not the job of vol­un­teers who re­ceive those calls to ad­vise or pass judge­ment. Talk­ing to some­one who un­der­stands and is try­ing to help, when so many are “pass­ing by on the other side”, can be vi­tally im­por­tant. Sa­mar­i­tans save lives.’ www.sa­mar­i­tans.org

Stan­ley Johnson

‘The Go­rilla Or­ga­ni­za­tion helps the in­creas­ingly threat­ened pop­u­la­tions in Africa, in par­tic­u­lar the moun­tain go­ril­las in Uganda, Rwanda and the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo. I’ve vis­ited GO projects in east and cen­tral Africa and been tremen­dously im­pressed by the ded­i­ca­tion of staff, work­ing of­ten un­der danger­ous and dif­fi­cult con­di­tions.’ www.go­ril­las.org

Prunella Scales and Ti­mothy West

‘We sup­port SOS Chil­dren’s Vil­lages, which works glob­ally to pro­tect, ed­u­cate and look af­ter chil­dren who, for what­ever rea­son, have been de­nied parental care. The Vil­lages we’ve vis­ited in In­dia are re­ally re­mark­able.’ www.soschil­drensvil­lages.org.uk

Clock­wise from far left: Lady An­to­nia Fraser, Tony Black­burn, John Humphrys, Jon Snow, Joanna Lum­ley, Stan­ley Johnson, Joan Bakewell, Prunella Scales and Ti­mothy West. Be­low left: Prue Leith Be­low right: Alan Ay­ck­bourn

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