Giada Origlia 19th December 2018
Christmas is almost upon us and the gift-buying frenzy is in full action. Not for me, really, because I haven’t bought one single present yet. And I have no idea what I’m going to get anybody. At all.
But that’s actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise because, after a bit of research, I discovered I could not only buy people stuff but support a good cause while doing it. Doing something positive for people doesn’t even remotely have to be a sacrifice.
Cards for Good Causes manages more than 300 charity card pop-up shops across the UK. It has 25 members that are large charities, like the NSPCC and Parkinson’s UK, and offers smaller charities the opportunity to sell cards on its website. The charities get 70p for every £1 earned from the cards.
“Many of these smaller charities don’t have retail space of their own so it’s a real benefit to them to be able to raise awareness and funds over Christmas with us,” says Jennie Spears from Cards for Good Causes. “Over the last 10 years alone, Cards for Good Causes has raised over £40m for its partner charities — the sale of Christmas cards has a massive impact on charities’ ability to raise awareness and offer front-line services to their beneficiaries.”
If you look carefully, there’s often something right on your doorstep. Brudenell Social Club, one of the top music venues in the Leeds scene, also has its own charity initiative. The venue is selling a special t-shirt designed by musician Jeffrey Lewis and donating all profit to the Leeds Survivor-Led Crisis Service (LSLCS).
LSLCS is part of a mental health network offering support and advice to people struggling with mental health issues through a helpline, face-to-face meetings and group work. They reckon Christmas in particular might be a difficult time for people struggling with mental health issues and still offer full-time support with no breaks over the holidays as well, following their #NotAlone campaign.
Also, the t-shirt looks really cool. And is only £10.
Another absolutely brilliant initiative and a really cool set of t-shirt designs can be found on Equalitee. The online store was created in 2016 as a Social Enterprise part funded by the Big Lottery Fund to support The Rainbow Project, a health organisation that works to improve the physical, mental and emotional health of LGBT+ people in Northern Ireland.
The org was established in 1994 by a group of volunteers who were trying to find a way to fight the spread of HIV within the gay male population of Northern Ireland, by raising awareness on the issue and campaigning for safe sex. The association is now the biggest in Northern Ireland and provides a number of services including professional counselling, sexual health care and mental health support.
All of the t-shirts and products sold on Equalitee have been designed by either local artists or people who actually benefitted from the services. And all of the profits are re-invested in improving and maintaining the services The Rainbow Project provides.
If you’d like to support another LGBT+ friendly organisation, Greenhead Design’s Somewhere Pin Project is definitely something to take a look at. Greenhead is a design studio that operates in the North of the UK and this Christmas has partnered up with the Albert Kennedy Trust to design a pin that represents the organisation’s mission.
The Albert Kennedy Trust is a charity that focuses on providing safe homes, training and support to the LGBT+ youth who are homeless or have to live in a hostile environment simply because they’ve decided to come out and live life as their true selves. Each £1.50 of every pin sold will be devolved to the AKT in order to continue to support their work, because no one should be deprived of a home just because of who they love.
If you’d like to give someone you love an experience, rather than just buying a present, you can do that too. There are lots of different options around the country but near me, Leeds Cookery School offers an amazing initiative in partnership with a local charity.
Maybe you have no idea how to cook. Or maybe you looove to cook and would like to improve your skills. Either way, if you buy a gift voucher for a cooking class, as a gift to yourself or a loved one, all proceedings will be donated to Zest, which offers support to people living in social isolation in disadvantaged areas of Leeds.
Giada Origlia 19th December 2018