16 November 2014
There’s something about Christmas that brings out the best in us as a nation. Flicking through the newspaper pages, you’d be forgiven for thinking the world is full of bad people doing bad things, but for every act of unkindness, there is at least one positive response to balance it out. For every harsh word, there is a shoulder to lean on; for every criminal, a mother Theresa.
In Manchester, this rallying spirit is demonstrated time and time again. Take the collective reaction to the Manchester Dogs Home fire; how incredible to see such an outpouring of support from the community. There’s something quite touching about people pulling together to make right such a terrible wrong, and it proves that there is most definitely light within all the dark cast by media doom and gloom.
Christmas time, however, is an event that – whilst eagerly anticipated by many – is also a particular struggle for others, which is why initiatives like Key103’s Cash for Kids charity are so vital. If you’re not aware of it, Cash for Kids is an organisation that raises money to help disadvantaged and disabled children across the city. Having three of my own kids, it’s particularly painful to imagine any child suffering at a time of year that is traditionally all about family and sharing.
When you hear that 1 in 3 children in Greater Manchester are in such poverty that they won’t receive a Christmas present, it’s quite a sobering thought. Yet, by encouraging and distributing donations of toys, Mission Christmas is striving to change this statistic, and I couldn’t be more proud of UKFast rolling up their sleeves and getting involved.
Whilst we’ve supported Cash for Kids before with fancy dress days, bake offs and as an official sponsor of Mission Christmas, we’ve decided to go the extra mile this year. In true UKFast style, the team have gone all out! They have created a grotto in the creche (getting pine needles and bauble glitter all over the place in the process) for people to drop off their donations, and many of them have volunteered to work at the warehouse where these donations will ultimately be sorted and sent out. We’ll also be spreading the word with our big screen to everyone on one of the main routes into the city centre.
Thinking about the whole project brings a buzz of excitement. After the avalanche, it’s a feeling I now live for, being able to make or at least facilitate positive change. This is my second chance at life and I never want to be in that position again, ready to meet my maker, without knowing for sure that I’ve done all I can to make things better for people, whether they’re close friends, acquaintances or even complete strangers. Imagine what would happen if we all decided to do something nice for someone else this Christmas.
If you can give your time; somewhere it will be needed. If you can donate a toy; somewhere – on Christmas Day – it will be hugely appreciated.
We’ll be waiting to welcome you with open arms (and Christmas stockings) if you’re passing by and want to drop off a present. You never know, there might even be a mince pie in it for you. Either way, we’d be very happy to see you. Last year the campaign raised £1.4m worth of toys. This year we want to raise even more!
The countdown begins now…