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With it being Christmas, people seem to be more aware of the less fortunate, taking part in charity events and giving coffee to the homeless. This is all well and good, however, charity should be recognised all year round.

I’m definitely not preaching, because I’m sure we could all do more for those less fortunate, but this is just a blog about the charities I have chosen to help in the past and why I chose them.

‘Tis the season of good will.

1) Marie Curie Cancer Care;

Marie Curie have a huge, organised charity event in the Spring, the daffodil appeal. Simply buy a daffodil and wear it with pride, knowing that your money is going to a good cause, helping someone receive the care they need, either at the end of their life or helping them to cope with cancer. I chose to back this charity after my nanny was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. I couldn’t bear the thought of her not being surrounded by the people who love her at a time like that, which made me think of all those less fortunate, who don’t have close family to care for them. This is part of Marie Curie’s work. Alternatively, you can volunteer an hour, or a couple of hours of your time, to sell the daffodils in a local supermarket or at a fundraising event. It’s a bit embarrassing for about five minutes, but you get over it! (I’m proud to say I raised £200 in 2 hours this year! Thank you to all who donated!)

2) Small Pet and Cat Care;

This is a very small, local charity in Hull. A wonderful couple take in abandoned cats when they don’t have a warm home to go to. The cats stay in their own home and they rely upon generous volunteers and donations to feed the cats and keep them safe and warm. You can make online donations to the charity either in cash or by buying something from their wish list. (Food, treats, beds and litter, etc.) Another way you can help, is by fostering. This is such a rewarding thing to do, cuddles with beautiful cats and the knowledge that you’re not only helping out the cats, by giving them a nice warm foster home until they find their forever home, but the knowledge that you’re helping two very loving people to take help more cats in need. I was introduced to this charity by a friend, Kate Richardson, whilst looking for a cat of my own, this year. I added the group on Facebook and watched the lovely cats slowly but surely find new homes. At the moment, I’m looking after Julian and Lucian, two of six cats who lived together, after their elderly owner passed away in the spring. Two big, beautiful ginger cats, so loving and cuddly! If you can offer your home to this charity, it’s a wonderful thing to do.

3) The Rucksack Project;

Again, another local event. Packing up a rucksack with essential, warm items of clothing and canned food, books etc. The rucksacks are dropped off at The Church on the Way, on the corner of Duesbury Street, Princes Avenue, Hull. The rucksacks are collected, then distributed amongst the homeless people of Hull. I chose to join this event, as it’s only once a year, so why not? Being homeless must be one of the worst things imaginable and is often combined with mental health issues, drug use or running away from abuse at home, but being homeless at Christmas would be even more unimaginable. Christmas is about family and friends, and showing people how much they mean to you by buying thoughtful gifts and spending time together. But the homeless don’t have any of those things, which is why I feel the need to help as much as I can. Homelessness is much deeper than ‘donating a rucksack’ or buying someone a coffee and in my opinion, needs to be dealt with better by the government, however, I am but one person. I don’t own a house to offer a room, I don’t have money to help someone get back on their feet, but I can afford to join this event and hopefully put a smile on someone’s face for a minute. (This event is tonight – 21st December!)

4) Sleep Easy;

The sleep easy project is about raising awareness about homelessness. On 31st January, every year, people get sponsored to sleep rough on the streets, from 6pm to 6am in hope of raising money and awareness and gaining first hand experience. I know a few people who have taken part in this event in previous years, who say they gained a lot more compassion for the homeless, which can only be a positive when looking at some of the stereotypes homeless people come up against. I will be taking part in this event in 2014, January 31st, with friends joining too; Sam Whitaker, Jerome Whittingham, Claire Wigglesworth and Katy Archer.

Charity has always been important to me (especially animals!) and I think we all ought to do more to help, when we can. The New Year should be a time of reflection and I know that this year I’ll be making a resolution to be involved with charities a bit more, rather than saying something absolutely ridiculous like, I’ll join the gym or stop drinking wine, because let’s face it, that’s just a bit too far.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year! Xxx