Five ways to support those in need this Christmas

Kingston upon Thames is one of London’s wealthier boroughs but there are more than 5,000 children living in poverty, according to statistics from Action for Children.

Data from Trust for London shows that due to the rise in the cost of living, one in five households falls below the poverty line in the borough.

CEO of the Kingston Charitable Foundation (KCF), Hicky Kingsbury, said: “[Kingston] is like a lot of boroughs. It’s completely mixed. There are very wealthy parts, and there are less wealthy parts.”

She believes that people have a collective responsibility to care about people in their community, even if they don’t know them, particularly at Christmas.

Christmas is usually a magical time of the year for children, but its intense marketing can also put pressure on families with lower incomes.

“Traditionally, it’s about sharing better. That’s how I always look at it. I really believe that the better we share, the easier it is for everyone.”

There are a number of ways that people can contribute.

Christmas Wishes appeal

Kingston Charitable Foundation (KCF) launched its third Christmas Wishes appeal on November 28, and residents and businesses can donate online via Localgiving until December 5.

Thanks to a pledge from the Rowan Bentall Charitable Trust to match fund donations, every donation will be doubled.

UK taxpayers can also add Gift Aid to further boost donations by an additional 25%.

The goal is to raise £3,000 and use it to support disadvantaged children in Kingston this Christmas.

What makes this appeal different is that children get to choose what they want.

Rowan Bentall Charitable Trust has pledged to match fund donations, so every penny will be doubled. Credit: Kingston Charitable Foundation

Kingston Community Lottery

Kingston Community Lottery is a way to continuously support good causes, with the chance to get some money back.

Tickets for the lottery cost just £1 per week, with a weekly jackpot of £25,000.

At least 60% of each ticket sold will go to support people in need from Kingston upon Thames. Half of each ticket goes to Kingston Charitable Foundation, and 10% to other good causes in the borough.

Give as you earn

More and more charities are now accepting donations through payroll giving. It is a way to to give money to a good cause without paying taxes on it.

It must be paid via PAYE from someone’s wages or pension. In most cases, this needs to be set up and run by the employer.

Alternatively, this can be done by payroll-giving agencies, but they may charge an administration fee, which will be deducted from employees’ donations.

The amount of tax relief depends on the tax rate.

Buy a gift, give a gift

Besides financial contributions, people from Kingston can also buy an actual present and leave it at The Works, located on Eden Walk.

The arts-and-crafts shop has partnered with Kingston Charitable Foundation (KCF) to encourage local people to donate gifts for children from economically disadvantaged families this Christmas.

KCF said: “The scheme encourages customers to purchase two of the same item, one of which will be donated to a family here in Kingston.

“We’ll be distributing the gifts through our local charity network, to make sure that donations to recipients are made mindfully of their needs and reach them in time for Christmas”

donation station at The Works
The donation station is located on the ground floor, right next to the toys section. Credit: Daniel Tison

Christmas Shoebox Appeal

Passengers travelling on trains can take part in ShoeBox Appeal, organised by South Western Railway (SWR).

Kingston station is one of the places accepting donations this Christmas.

A small shoebox of gifts or just a gift for someone who is vulnerable or facing homelessness can be handed to a member of staff at the ticket office window.

In 2022, SWR collected more than 1350 show boxes of gifts and 860 individual gifts for children and the elderly.

Reporter & Social Media Editor at Kingston Courier | + posts

Junior journalist and PR freelancer, with more than three years of experience in the media industry. Combining my creative spirit and analytical thinking, I aspire to spread accurate, unbiased, and valuable information, in a simple and attractive way.

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