Newspapers Raise Millions in Christmas Appeals

Local and national newspaper readers across the UK supported and raised millions for charitable causes over the Christmas period.

The Sunday Times’ Christmas Appeal passed £1.1M to help schools transform the lives of some of the country’s most deprived children. The paper launched the appeal with a letter to Father Christmas from Jake 8, whose main ask for Christmas was a roast dinner. At Jake’s school, Christ the King Catholic Academy in Blackpool which was one of the schools selected to benefit from the appeal, 76% qualify for “pupil premium” funding, which is for disadvantaged students. Teachers and pupils assembled food hampers for families and pupils like Jake, as well as fuel vouchers.

Sarah Smith, the executive head of the Blackpool Academy, said: “Never in our wildest dreams did we think Sunday Times readers would connect with us in such a heartfelt way. They are making a really, really big difference to these children’s lives already.”

Wolverhampton’s Express and Star Feed a Family Campaign received in excess of 14,000 items donated by readers including festive food, basics including canned goods, long-life milk, fruit juice, pasta and rice and essential toiletries and baby supplies handed in to supermarket drop-off points.

Jen Coleman from the Black Country Food Bank said: “Black Country Foodbank have had another busy year providing emergency food parcels for those in need. The Feed a Family initiative provides hope that we can continue in the early part of next year. The donations have been just the things that we run low on regularly such as fruit juice and UHT Milk.”

The Guardian and Observer charity appeal passed £750,000 in donations for environmental projects planting and protecting trees, woodlands and forests. More than 10,000 readers contributed to the appeal, which promoted environmental and social justice through natural climate solutions, from safeguarding rainforests in the Amazon to rewilding the Scottish Highlands and planting trees in Britain’s towns, cities and countryside.

Liverpool residents donated 10,200 pairs of pyjamas to ensure local vulnerable children will go to bed on Christmas Eve in new nightclothes. Going to bed in a pair of new pyjamas on Christmas Eve is a Liverpool tradition and the Liverpool Echo wanted to support Pyjama Party Liverpool which was started by Karen and Ashleigh Downing, after reading a Facebook post by homeless charity Shelter. The pair were spurred into action after learning that 90,000 households are stuck in unsuitable temporary accommodation such as hostels – which was a 38 per cent rise over five years.

The Daily Mail launched Be A Tree Angel in a drive to see thousands of trees planted across Britain. According to the Woodland Trust, Britain needs to double its rate of tree planting in order to be net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The campaign has been backed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and organisations such as the National Trust, RSPB, the Woodland Trust and CPRE. Apple’s Sir Jonathan Ive generously donated £100,000 to the campaign and Network Rail pledged £1million over four years – planting 20,000 trees in the first year alone as part of a pilot project. The money will also provide aftercare to ensure the trees thrive – helping to fight pollution around schools, help to curb climate change and make Britain greener.

Other business leaders also donated including Richard Caring, Lord Sugar and an anonymous businessman each donated £100,000. Together with Sir Jony’s pledge of £100,000, their donations total £400,000 – enough to fund 4,000 orchards in schools.

Newsquest, announced yesterday, that they had donated more than £140,000 to 40 UK community organisations, through the charitable arm of its US owner. The Gannett Foundation gave donations to the ‘Creative Kids’ project in Bournemouth, Dorset, intended to fill the hole left by the decimation of town centre retailing with opportunities for disadvantaged local youth. In Newport, a charity called ‘Amazing Grace Spaces,’ which offers accommodation for homeless women, has been awarded a grant to buy bedroom furniture. And in Salisbury, funds are being used to furnish a house run by Salisbury Trust for the Homeless.

The Telegraph announced that readers had raised £25 million for charity over 33 years. The Telegraph’s annual Christmas Charity Appeal has been running in its present format since 1986, with the 2019 appeal focusing on three charities Leukaemia Care, The Silver Line – the helpline for older people, and Wooden Spoon, the Children’s charity of rugby.