Since Christmas is the season for giving and helping others, we’ve made it easier than ever to support charity with this year’s selection of charity Christmas cards! We’re supporting a wide range of charities so whatever cause is close to your heart, you can do some good while you send your Christmas wishes! This week we are shining our charity spotlight on Terence Higgins, MS Trust, Sense, Hearing Dogs & Alzheimers Society
Hi! It’s so nice to get the chance to chat with you all and to hear about all the fantastic work you do! Tell us a little bit about your charities.
- Terence Higgins is the largest voluntary sector provider of HIV and sexual health services in the UK, running services out of local centres across Great Britain.
- MS Trust was founded 25 years ago and is dedicated to improving the lives of people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
- Sense supports children and adults with complex communication needs, including deafblindness. We believe that no one, no matter how complex their disabilities, should be isolated, left out, or unable to fulfil their potential.
- Hearing Dogs train dogs to alert people who can’t hear, to important and life-saving sounds such as fire alarms, baby monitors & oven timers. The dogs also provide constant emotional support and companionship, which is incredibly important as deaf people can often feel very isolated and lonely.
- Alzheimer’s Society is the only UK charity that campaigns for change, funds research to find a cure and supports people living with dementia today. The ultimate goal is a world without dementia, but until then we are here for everyone affected.
Have you been partnered with Paperchase for long?
- TH: Yes! The money that’s been raised in previous years has helped us fund one of our many community projects! We work on projects such as Positive Voices, which supports people living with HIV to tell their own stories, and Work Positive, which helps people living with HIV into employment.
- MST: Donations from previous years have gone towards the campaign for more MS nurses to be supported and specially trained.
- S: Since 2014 – The funds have helped run projects like 25 Summer activity breaks for children with a multisensory impairment. This could be taking part in horse riding in the country, their first dip in the sea or crafting in a cosy cottage. Without donations like yours these holidays simply couldn’t happen.
- HD: We’ve been lucky enough to work with Paperchase for nine years now. It costs around £25,000 to fully train and support a highly skilled hearing dog. With the generous support that we’ve received from Paperchase customers since 2011 we have been able to train seven more life-changing dogs. This means that seven deaf people and their families have had their lives improved across the UK as a direct result of Paperchase’s support.
- ALZ: Alzheimer’s Society has worked with Paperchase since 2016 and it’s been a delight every Christmas!
It’s great to hear the impact we’ve had so far! Tell us about what the money donated will be used for this year?
- MST: We have 5 new nurses in place, with plans for a further 8 by the end of next year. This is a huge project for a charity of our size, so support is essential as we are currently the only charity in the UK to provide this crucial aspect of support for people with MS.
- S: This year’s funds will support our arts and wellbeing programmes which aim to give everyone, no matter how complex their communication needs, the chance to express themselves through dance, music, and art
- HD: As there is a growing need for hearing dogs, across the UK, we have a goal of being able to train 200 dogs every year by 2020, to change the lives of more deaf children and adults. Any donations we receive will go directly into training more dogs help us achieve this.
If we needed more reason to stock up on charity cards, there it is! So, what’s the best bit about working for your charity?
TH: Being part of a charity filled with people who are passionate about supporting people who live with and are affected by HIV.
MST: I love working at the MS Trust! It’s wonderful to be able to support our amazing fundraisers who are walking, climbing, cycling, skating, jumping, singing, baking and much much more, all to help us support people living with MS.
S: The charity was started as a support network by a group of parents over 60 years ago and it still feels like one big family.
HD: Being able to make a significant impact on the lives of deaf people and being able to work alongside lots of clever, cute dogs. Deafness is an invisible disability and many deaf people struggle with feelings of isolation, loneliness, anxiety, depression and grief. This, alongside the fact that they can’t hear, can dramatically reduce their quality of life. Being able to match them with a highly skilled, loveable hearing dog and seeing the impact these dogs have on people makes this the best job in the world.
ALZ: The best bit is meeting the people that we support and their families. I love attending services that are funded by Alzheimer’s Society such as Dementia Cafes and Singing for the Brain.
What will be on your Christmas list this year?
MST: Lots of fabulous Paperchase stationery of course! I particularly like the life journals, as there is something for everyone and I love anything with dogs on it!
S: For all of the wonderful families that we work with to have a great 2019!
HD: Paperchase’s fabulous Christmas cards! And kindness. Many deaf people unfortunately experience people being unkind, whether deliberately or inadvertently, because of their deafness. We want to see people being kind to each other – not just for Christmas but throughout the year, as it can really have a positive impact on people.
ALZ: It’s been a really busy year so I’m hoping to spend lots of time with my friends and family this Christmas! This year I’d love a photo frame to put my favourite memory on my window sill in my new flat!
Do you have any Christmas traditions at your charity?
S: Our centres around the country have lots of traditions from Christmas parties at our resource hubs to carol concerts and fundraisers held by our supporters. It’s such a great time of the year for the charity.
HD: As a big portion of our audience are dog lovers, one of our Christmas traditions includes sharing helpful tips to dog owners on how to keep their dogs safe and happy at Christmas time. Christmas poises various risks to dogs (e.g. ingesting chocolate which is harmful to dogs, choking on Christmas decorations, feeling stressed by houses full of people etc.), so we want to help people make Christmas as fun and festive for their pets as possible so that everyone can enjoy this time of year.
ALZ: We love Christmas at Alzheimer’s Society! So much so that we hold our annual Christmas fundraiser, Elf Day. We encourage our supporters to dress up as elves and join in the festive fun whilst raising money for Alzheimer’s Society! This year it’s on 7th December and I’ve got my Elf outfit ready to go!
Okay, last one – if you could design any Christmas Dec, what would it be?
MST: Ooh that’s a tough question! I would love to see our MS Trust duck turned into a fun and quirky Christmas decoration. Perhaps it could be called ‘Christmas Quackers’?
HD: A simple hearing dog bauble for the Christmas tree – complete with burgundy jacket and cheeky expression.
ALZ: I’d love to design a bauble which you could customise by adding a special memory inside of like a photo or a piece of jewellery to so that it could twinkle on the tree and remind you of a special time!