Many of us take for granted that Christmas is a time of the year for family to get together, enjoy a wonderful meal and exchange gifts, but sadly that is not the reality for many. For those struggling to make ends meet, the holiday season presents a difficult time, as gifts for the children are a luxury they cannot afford. Following the impact of the pandemic this year, many children are even more in need of some festive cheer.
Over the past few years our UK colleague, Susie Hayward, Director of Risk and Compliance, has worked on a number of initiatives with the aim of ensuring that no child goes without a Christmas. Taking her efforts to new heights this year, Susie established the not-for-profit organisation, Truly Giving, as a way of enabling people to get involved and help even more children and young people across Surrey and the South East of England to experience the joy of a gift at Christmas.
Susie’s mission started three years ago, when she began collecting gifts from people in her local area, including Collinson’s London and Hayward’s Heath offices, to donate to children in care. In her first year she managed to collect 35 gifts, which more than quadrupled to 150 in her second year of collections. This year under the Truly Giving initiative, Susie and the team of supporting volunteers collected 671 gifts, more than doubling their original target of 300 gifts, which included traditional presents such as toys and games, and practical items like winter coats and bedding that were humbly requested by some of the children.
Truly Giving allows people to purchase individualised Christmas gift for disadvantaged children and young people across Surrey and the South East of England, who otherwise may not receive one. Gift givers select a child to buy a gift for and receive a suggestion of the particular gift that child would like. Gifts are either taken to a nominated drop off point, or if purchased online can be delivered there too. Groups of volunteers helping towards the initiative then collect, sort and deliver the gifts to charities working with children and families.
I have an amazing career spanning over 30 years and while there are many achievements I am proud of, launching Truly Giving stands out as my highlight. I appreciate how lucky I am to be able to provide my children with gifts and see the joy on their faces on Christmas morning, but sadly many children won’t wake up to a present.
Susie continued, “One request that will stay with me forever was from a two-year old named Grace, who wanted her very own tea set. For as long as I am able to, I will make sure that Grace, and others who need one, get a gift at Christmas.”
Charities that Susie has partnered this year include Hestia, working with women’s refuges, Action for Carers, working with young carers, and Family Action and YMCA, working with young adults.
To register your interest in Truly Giving’s 2021 Christmas gift collection, please email CSR@collinsongroup.com to receive a notification when the giving period reopens in October.