As soon as the Halloween witches and broomsticks are committed to the recesses of our homes the cheesy Mariah Carey memes and tear jerk adverts flood our conscience.
For many of us working in the community and voluntary sector, Christmas this year has been on our mind much much earlier and brings with it, a contested clash of hopeful excitement and profound anxiety. These are indeed challenging times.
Children living in poverty
People are often surprised to learn that many of the children we support at Bolster Community, are directly impacted by poverty. Shockingly, 1 child in 4 are directly impacted by poverty in Northern Ireland. Many of the parents we support, through no fault of their own, are unable to provide the basic needs for their children. Often, we visit homes without adequate heat, without nutritious food and parents speak with fear about affording appropriate clothing and childcare.
Thankfully, we live in a community where amazing people like John Dalzell and Ernie Campbell and Newry Chamber business lunch committee together with businesses like the Church Café Rostrevor, Gorman’s bar in Mayobridge and Delilites, go way beyond the call of duty to ensure no one goes hungry and no child goes without at Christmas.
As a local charity, we know too well that parents are facing the biggest challenge – whether that is money problems, mental health or relationship breakdown – will often go without themselves to make sure their children don’t lose out. The pressure to make ends meet is intensified at Christmas as parents set out to protect their children’s Christmas.
The power of social media, peer pressure and advertising spin create the fantasy that material things make people happy. And so, starts the pester power narrative for the new doll, new computer game, new phone, the new laptop. Each year the focus may change but the drive for parents and families to spend beyond their means is a constant, and presents dangerous consequences that last much longer than the Christmas season.
Asking for help is hard. Going it alone is harder.
Many of the parents we support Pre-Covid were just about managing, living from pay packet to pay packet, there is no nest egg or secret stash for a rainy day or unexpected cost. Lockdown and, Covid 19 has devastated the income and spending power of many of in our society, and we want to say loud and clear, we get it! No one wants to ask for help, but seriously, going it alone is harder.
We know things are tough, we see the anxiety in our children, we acknowledge the growing lists for services and support and we appreciate the role and help of local charities and professionals in reaching out to help ease the path.
Doing good, feels good.
This year more than any other year, please consider asking for help if you need it and those of you fortunate enough to have a warm house and a family to share the festive time with, reach out within your community, see who needs a little chat, a Christmas card, a friendly hello?
Giving gifts to friends and family at Christmas may provide a little taster of how it feels to spend money doing something nice for someone else. In some cases, people consciously recognise this positive feeling and decide to give more widely, including a charity donation. That warm glow people talk about when they do good is a real thing – psychologists like Jo Cutler, University of Sussex, refer to the neuroscience of Philanthropy, and the need for people to feel good by doing good!
Need our help? Check out our Christmas campaign
Do you need a helping hand to get through this Christmas? If so, you are the most important person to us, and we’d love to hear from you.
Our Bolster community campaign is open now for families and older people – please fill in our request form at here so we can help directly, anonymously and in confidence or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on Facebook @bolstercommunity up to the 11th December 2020.
Can you help us? Get involved!
Do you want to feel the “warm glow” of giving? Can you help provide some heat and light for a family in need? Are you able to sponsor some new shoes or a coat for a child at Christmas?
DONATE TODAY – Sponsor a Christmas gift and we’ll deliver it to those most in need for you.
If you are in a position to give a little, your donation could make a real difference to someone, to a family where the parents having to decide whether they ear or their children do, knowing there is not enough food in the cupboard for both. This year our focus will be on helping those in need to “Eat, Heat, Thrive”
Donating to Bolster Community will provide a warm glow for YOU and for someone with a pressing, basic need. Together we will bring the spirit of Christmas to those most in need – our friends, our neighbours, our community.
BUY SOCIAL TODAY – support our vital work!
Along with our community support charity services, Bolster Community is also a social enterprise. We sell luxury gifts, handmade by young adults of mixed ability and all profits go back into supporting our vital work.
Visit our online gift shop and check out our luxury hampers, candles and soaps – they are the Christmas gift that keeps on giving.