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8 ways to help vulnerable children at Christmas

With the season of goodwill upon us, give back to those who need it most this festive season.

  1. Give a Christmas gift to children who may otherwise not receive one

The Met Police’s Christmas Tree Project has been running since 2012, and encourages the public to give presents which will be passed onto children who would normally go without.

Last year’s appeal resulted in over 17,000 gifts being given to children across London, and more than £20,000 donated. Discover how to give a present here.

  1. Volunteer at a Christmas dinner for care leavers

With many care leavers away from family, sofa-surfing, on the streets or on their own at Christmas, it can often be a dreaded day. Now, Christmas dinners have been organised around the county which aim to provide somewhere for care leavers aged 16 to 25 to spend Christmas Day, combating the loneliness often felt by this vulnerable group at this time of year.

The Tope project organises special events for care leavers, while British author and broadcaster, Lemn Sissay, organises Christmas dinners around the country.

These events rely on the goodwill of volunteers and donors but for anyone who can’t volunteer on Christmas Eve or Day, you can buy an affordable gift instead here.

  1. Sponsor a room to end youth homelessness

Young people sleeping rough is a shocking and increasingly visible problem, which is continuing to get worse. For those who are homeless, Christmas, and the cold weather it’s often associated with, is one of the worst times of year.

Sponsoring a room at Centrepoint for £12 a month here means you’ll be able to help a young person have somewhere warm to stay over the festive period.

  1. Support a charity which advocates for care leavers

Moving from foster care or residential care to living independently can be a very difficult transition, with many care leavers feeling overwhelmed by their new responsibilities. People with care experience may lose an important part of their support network during this transitional period, without friends or family to turn to.

By supporting a charity which advocates for them, such as The Rees Foundation, you can ensure that care leavers won’t have to make that transition alone.

  1. Sign up to a Santa Fun Run

Join Santa Runs up and down the country this year with thousands of other runners dressed as Santa Claus to spread festive fun and burn a few calories before your Christmas dinner, all in aid of disadvantaged children.

Run your way around a 5k or 10k course and then recover with Christmas carols, mince pies and mulled wine. Check out your nearest race here.

  1. Help out at FoodCycle

Help to collect surplus food from supermarkets and independent food retailers to end the hunger and loneliness often felt by the most vulnerable children and families this festive season. Find out more here.

  1. Donate to the Refuge Christmas gift list

For women and children escaping domestic violence, Christmas can be a particularly distressing and isolating time of year. Many flee with little more than the clothes on their backs and presents are often a luxury they can’t afford.

To ensure that every woman and child in their services receives a Christmas present, Refuge runs a Gift List Appeal. Discover how to donate here.

  1. Become a social worker

At least half a million children in England don’t have a safe or stable home. These children and their families face some of the worst life chances, but we know that great social work has the power to change this.

Change career this Christmas and work directly with the most vulnerable children and families in the country, transforming their life chances on the Frontline programme. Find out more about the programme here, or click here to start your application.