The St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) is urging people across England and Wales to ‘give the gift of kindness’ this Christmas as it launches its Christmas Kindness Appeal.

The appeal, which launches on Giving Tuesday on 30 November and runs throughout December, will raise money for the SVP’s work at grassroots level, and thanks to the generosity of some of the Society’s major donors, all donations received to the Christmas Kindness Appeal will be matched pound-for-pound up to a total value of £45,000.

SVP National President Helen O’Shea says: “Every Christmas many of us spend time searching for the perfect gift to give our loved ones, and all too often end up giving them something they don’t really need, or perhaps even want. But make a donation to the SVP this Christmas and you can be sure you are giving someone who has very little exactly what they need most.

“We know that is true because we spend time with every person we help and support, listening to them, understanding their situation and finding out how we can best help them cope with the challenges in their lives.

“So, whether it’s a piece of furniture in a child’s bedroom, an emergency food parcel for a hungry family, or a cup of tea with a lonely older person, we’ll turn every donation into the perfect gift.”

Though the national economic landscape is stabilising, millions are struggling to cope as they are left behind financially following the end of the £20-a-week rise in Universal Credit. Low pay and the rising cost of living is increasing incidences of in-work poverty, and the inevitable toll this takes on mental health.

According to figures from the Legatum Institute, poverty in the UK is a “significant long-term issue”. The figures suggest that prior to the pandemic, more than one in five people in the UK (22%) lived in families in poverty, which equates to 14.4 million people. The situation is predicted to get worse for millions, and with official Government figures on poverty not expected until 2022, the harsh reality of poverty in the UK is brought alive through the stories of people experiencing hardship first-hand, including the thousands of SVP members and staff providing essential support on the ground.

The Christmas Kindness Appeal will fund the work of the SVP in communities across England and Wales. The SVP’s support for anyone in need encompasses everything from food parcels and hot meals to befriending, the provision of furniture, and advice with benefits.

Helen O’Shea concludes: “When you donate to the SVP this year, you can be sure you will be giving the perfect gift to someone who really, really needs it, because you will be giving the gift of kindness.”

To donate to the Christmas Kindness Appeal please visit https://fundraising.svp.org.uk/page/93401/donate/1 or call 07953 384429.