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Together at Christmas

Bankside and You Opportunity
Join our Christmas gift appeal to make a difference to homeless, vulnerably housed and elderly people in Southwark.
Rachel Nicholson
Corporate Responsibility Manager

Christmas can be a lonely time for some in Bankside and surrounding areas, so remind them that somebody cares by getting involved in our annual festive appeal and help us continue to make a difference to the lives of local homeless, vulnerably housed and elderly people.

In 2017, the Together at Christmas collection was the most successful campaign to date - 1858 homeless, vulnerably housed and elderly people in Southwark received Christmas gift parcels thanks to the support of Bankside businesses and people who work or live in the area.

Do you want to get involved in Together at Christmas 2018? We'd love to spread a little festive cheer to even more people this year. Here's how you can help...

1. Host a collection box in your office
Encourage your colleagues to donate gift items by hosting a collection box in your office. Our boxes are 45cmx45cmx45cm, so can easily fit into your office.  We'll include posters and lists of gift items, and we encourage you to decorate your box with a festive Bankside theme.  We're now taking final registrations for box hosts - sign up ASAP to be part of this year's appeal:  request a box for your business.

We will collect boxes and donated gift items between 7-12 December, ready for wrapping by volunteers and delivering to the many charities and projects we support across the borough.

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2. Donate a gift:

What kind of gifts are needed? It’s very simple, we ask for gifts from the following three categories:

New warm clothing: hats, gloves and scarves, warm or thermal socks, sweaters or sweatshirts and t-shirts (especially for men, in sizes M, L or XL)
Toiletries: shower gel, deodorant, shaving foam & disposable razors, moisturisers, hand cream and lip balm
Festive food: luxury, non-perishable treats such as tins of biscuits, chocolates and sweets, Christmas cakes and puddings, mince pies (please check use-by dates first)

Please avoid alcohol, including any food containing alcohol, aftershave or perfume, or hand sanitiser gels.  Please also check the use by dates on any food items, as the gifts may not be opened until late December. 

Please also do not donate second-hand items or store cupboard basis, remember these are special gifts. If you have any second-hand items, please consider donating them to your local charity shop. Tinned foods and store cupboard staples can be donated to a food bank, please check trusseltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank to find your nearest one.

Public donation points:

You can contribute to the appeal by dropping off gift items to one of our public donation points:

  • Better Bankside Community Space, 18 Great Guildford Street, SE1 0FD
  • Borough Market Information Office, 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL
  • Forster Communications, 49 Southwark Street, SE1 1RU
  • Mercure London Bridge, 71-79 Southwark Street, SE1 0JA
  • The Bridge, 73-81 Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 0NQ
  • LSE Bankside House, 24 Sumner Street, SE1 9JA

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3. Hold an in-house gift wrapping session
If you’re hosting a collection box, why not use this as an opportunity to bring your colleagues together and host a fun wrapping session? Full guidance will be provided by Better Bankside about what’s involved. All in-house wrapping sessions must be completed by 10 December so that we can deliver your gifts to the charities in time for their own Christmas celebrations with service users.

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4. Sign up to Better Bankside’s volunteer gift wrapping sessions
Every year we hold a number of volunteer gift wrapping sessions to help wrap and make the donated items into parcels before donating them. These sessions will be held in early December so that the charities have the gifts in time for their Christmas celebrations.  Any time you can volunteer to help is much appreciated - it's always a fun activity, with Christmas music, refreshments and plenty of parcels to wrap.

Wrapping sessions will take place on the following dates with sessions throughout the day:

  • Monday 10th December - lunchtime, afternoon or evening
  • Tuesday 11th December -  lunchtime, afternoon or evening
  • Wednesday 12th December - lunchtime, afternoon or evening
  • Friday 14th December - morning, lunchtime or afternoon

All wrapping sessions take place in the Bankside area, with those on Monday-Wednesday taking place at St Mungo's Recovery College on King's Bench Street, and on Friday at Better Bankside's Community Space on Great Guildford Street.  There are 25 spaces per session, with a maximum of 10 people from one business. If your business has a group larger than this, we may be able to organise an additional wrapping session for you at The Bridge Cafe on Southwark Bridge Road, subject to availability.

If you would like to sign up for the wrapping activities, please email rn [at] betterbankside.co.uk (subject: Please%20send%20me%20more%20info%20about%20the%20Together%20at%20Christmas%20wrapping%20activities) (Rachel Nicholson) to register your interest now.

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5. Donate to St Mungo's Great Guildford Street hostel

We know that it's a busy time of year, and so not everyone has time to buy gift items to contribute to the appeal, but if you would still like to make a difference to homeless people in the local area, you can donate to St Mungo's: justgiving.com/TogetheratChristmas2018

Your donation will be used to fund St Mungo's Great Guildford Street hostel and other services it runs in Southwark that help homeless people rebuild their lives. If the services St Mungo’s operate in Southwark are fully funded this year, your donation will be used to support other areas of St Mungo’s vital work across London and the South of England.

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Please note, due to demand, you must work or live in the Better Bankside BID area to take part in Together at Christmas.

Sep 21 2018