So here’s the thing…this has been a tough year for people.

Christmas Cheer and the New year…… Blog

When you work in a charity like ours, Bolstercommunity.org, you will frequently come across people at their most vulnerable, they may have recently had bad news, have concerns about a partner or child’s wellbeing or feel like they are simply lurching from catastrophe to crisis. Those friends, neighbours and families we all know, who are just about holding it together at the best of times will often need someone outside the home to help them get their life back together and just get through a difficult time in their life.

That’s what we do, at Bolster, many people we work with have stumbled into challenges and have ended up through no fault of their own needing support from a foodbank or charity. Whilst it is shocking to see the growth of poverty in NI, we understand the need for foodbanks and charities and whilst most people hope never to need them, there comes a time when all of us need a helping hand to get through and get ahead.

Many people feel the need to give at Christmas, making a donation or undertaking a sponsored event, that can be really helpful to a charity as well as giving you a sense of “doing good”, if you feel like doing good, could we be so bold as to suggest you think about what your giving might achieve?

Here’s a few “Giving”, stories of the last few weeks… a local family, Grandma, sons, daughters daughter in-law decided to donate to Bolster instead of buying unwanted tins of sweets & wine for in-laws at Christmas. With that family donation Bolster staff were able to go to a local butcher and Dunnes food store and provide food vouchers and meat for 49 families in financial crisis this Christmas and New year.

A few weeks ago, colleagues at Community Advice Newry Mourne and Down, supported a single mum living on £50.00 a week to feed her and two children, an onward referral from Community Advice NMD brought the lady to Bolster Community. Our Family support worker met with mum at her home, and after a few cups of tea, tears and a box of tissues, the family support worker came back with a list of small things that would make a direct impact on that family: A high Chair, underwear for the children, winter coats, oil and food.

Last week, I took a phone call from a professional man, describing himself as outwardly successful he was recently made redundant with a wife and three children aged 3 months to 6 years of age to care for. He asked if we could help him as he described how things had come undone for him. With no job, a pittance of redundancy a big mortgage and maxed out credit card, he didn’t know how he could get through to the New Year. After pouring his heart out, this gent was advised to speak with Community Advice Newry Mourne and Down, he also accepted that we could support his family with Christmas toys and when asked what else did he needed right now, he replied “just someone to hear me and not judge or pity me”.

The Chief Executive from the Company who lifted the phone and ordered 40 Bolster candle hampers for his working from home staff last week, provided meaningful work experience and opportunity to our young candle makers with mixed ability and enabled a fab group of young adults play their full part in society. Moreover, the profit made from that 1 hamper order enabled a local family have a Christmas to remember when they received groceries, electric, and oil vouchers along with children’s presents and toys also ensuring one local mum would cope much better and helped protect Christmas for her family for another year.

So, when you think about making a donation to a charity, think about what your donation may do for others, think about how teenagers are often left out of appeals as they are more difficult to buy for, we see the cuddly toys and the prams, but we also need the sports vouchers, the shopping centre vouchers, the toiletry vouchers, so many of our teens go without because they are fighting so many different battles on so many fronts, don’t forget a teenager is for Christmas as well as for life!

We need to get better at asking for help, we also need to better understand the role of Charities in making life a little easier for people and we need to give a massive big pat on the back for the kindness, generosity and care so evident across our local business community and the absolutely selfless people who fundraise relentlessly to support others!

With all of our gratitude and thanks for being an amazing community we wish you all a Happy, safe and healthy Christmas, for future blogs and updates, keep a look out for us on FB, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn!

Happy Christmas

Jacinta Linden


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.