Kingston Christmas Wishes appeal meets target: How will £6,000 be used?

The Kingston Charitable Foundation (KCF) has met its target by collecting more than £3,200 from residents and businesses during its Giving Week.

Thanks to a matched-funding pledge from the Rowan Bentall Charitable Trust, the raised amount will be boosted to £6,000.

Grants Manager Justine Belcher said: “We’ve raised a fabulous amount, enough for eight grants to support families, individuals in crisis, community groups delivering hampers to those in need, and Christmas lunch for those who would be alone on Christmas Day.”

KCF has been running its Christmas Wishes appeal for three years but the CEO, Hicky Kingsbury, still thinks not everyone knows about it.

“We are relatively new, and a lot of the work that we do is raising awareness, because we sometimes do feel that we’re Kingston’s best kept secret,” she said.

This year, they launched their Giving Week with a pub quiz and hamper raffle, which attracted a large turnout.

Kingston Christmas markets
While some families find joy in Christmas markets, others struggle to cope with rising bills. Credit: Daniel Tison

Fair distribution and big plans for the new year

KCF collects funds and distributes them among various local charity initiatives. Unlike some charities, KCF guarantees its donors that all proceeds will go directly to those in need.

The finance trustee Paul Greensmith said: “The functioning of the charity is supported not by the funds we raise but by some of the City of London trusts who have money to support charities.

“But all the funds we raise at events like this goes directly to the giving side of the charity.”

Over the past three years of its existence, KCF has awarded around 100 grants, which have benefited tens of thousands of people.

According to Kingsbury, the next 12 months will be the busiest yet for the foundation.

“This coming year, we’re launching even more grants programmes that will be supporting individuals and families facing hardship, so we’re pretty excited about that,” she said.

These programmes will also focus on people with disabilities and those living with blood cancer.

homeless man on London street
More than 100,000 people are expected to spend this Christmas without a home, according to Shelter. Credit: Andy Rain/Shutterstock

The impact of the cost-of-living crisis

Since 2021, the cost of everyday essentials has been increasing at a faster rate than average household incomes in the UK.

Research conducted by Crisis showed that rising inflation impacts people from all classes and in all regions across Britain.

KCF marketing trustee Sam Page said: “Even people who work can’t afford to pay private rent or mortgages, so it’s a pretty bad picture, across London and in this borough.”

He thinks that it is particularly important to be “reactive” and make sure that money will get to causes when it is needed.

According to data from Trust for London, one in five households in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames live below the poverty line.

Among other local governments across the UK, Kingston Council has been facing a challenge to finance its services.

A spokesperson for Kingston Council said: “More people, families and children than ever are struggling and need help. Alongside this, the cost of basics, such as energy and supplies, have made council services more expensive to provide.”

Greensmith, who is also an accountant, believes that raising funds is “the most effective way of helping people”.

“It enables them to make their own decisions about where they use their money and what they use it on and their actual needs in the moment. And I think that’s why we do is quite powerful,” he said.

For those affected by the cost-of-living crisis, Kingston Council offers support and guidance on its website.

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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