As Christmas approaches, few of us will regret saying goodbye to 2023. Crippling food prices, utility bills and mortgage rates have all added up to a tough year for many – and for the UK’s charities, it’s been one of unprecedented challenges. While running costs have rocketed, their life-changing services have been needed more than ever. So, as the year draws to a close, we are asking you – our incredibly generous and caring readers – to help our four chosen charities in the Telegraph Christmas Charity Appeal 2023.
Running for more than 100 years, our appeal has raised close to £30 million for charities. Last year’s grand total of £726,000 was the second highest figure in a decade – incredible in a year when the cost of living crisis had bitten hard. Yet you still donated generously, enabling Age UK to provide even more aid, friendship and advice for older people. In supporting Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), you helped the UK’s leading military charity to provide meaningful employment, welfare and accommodation for veterans and their families. Your donations also helped Action for Children to care for vulnerable children across the UK, and enabled Macmillan Cancer Support to offer even more support to people who have been diagnosed with cancer, as well as their carers and families.
This year, we are proud to support Marie Curie, the UK’s leading end of life charity. Providing expert care in patients’ homes and at their nine UK hospices, Marie Curie is there for anyone with an illness they are likely to die from. “Currently, every five minutes, someone dies in the UK without the care and support they need,” says Matthew Reed, Marie Curie chief executive. “That’s an estimated 150,000 people every year and, due to our ageing population, it’s getting worse.”
By 2048, demand for palliative and end of life care will have increased by up to 25 per cent. “Marie Curie is 75 this year alongside the NHS and we’re delighted to be included in the Christmas Appeal,” continues Reed. “The money and awareness raised is vital in helping us to increase the number of people receiving expert end of life care through our services, and deliver a better end of life for all.”
The RAF Benevolent Fund is committed to supporting RAF personnel, veterans and their families. It provides everything from grants for essential living, plus help with unexpected expenses, as well as listening and counselling services, and assistance to address specific needs, such as mobility aids and home adaptations. The past few years have seen a surge in demand for essential assistance, and your donations will make an enormous difference. “We are delighted to be part of The Telegraph’s Christmas Charity Appeal,” says Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund. “We hope that Telegraph readers will have the opportunity to learn more about what we do to help change the lives of many RAF personnel, their families and veterans who need support.”
Race Against Dementia was created by three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart after his wife, Helen, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. Installing the Formula 1 mindset of pace, precision and lateral thinking, the charity funds some of the world’s most promising early-career scientists and research teams in the field of dementia research. “Remarkable strides have been made in cancer detection, prevention and treatment over the past 50 years, while dementia research has trailed behind,” says Race Against Dementia CEO Bridget Barker. “Today, for every four cancer researchers, there is just one dementia research scientist.” Yet out of every three people born today, one will die of dementia – unless treatments are developed and a cure found.
“Urgency is paramount,” Barker adds. “Dementia shatters families and looms large as a formidable – and fast growing – challenge for the NHS and society. Race Against Dementia is here to accelerate progress. With the funding we attract, we back the world’s most promising early-career scientists and research teams in the field.”
Meanwhile, Go Beyond gives breaks in the British countryside to children who live in seriously challenging circumstances such as domestic violence, bereavement, poverty and neglect. Over the past 30 years, 19,000 vulnerable children have enjoyed the kind of experience that can change a life forever. However, as it costs £1,108 to send a child, donations are urgently needed. “It hasn’t just been tough for families,” says Michele Farmer, CEO of Go Beyond. “Our costs have shot up – and food is a good example. The children have been hungrier and have eaten more. This year we expect to spend £30,000 on food alone; 14 per cent more than last year.
“On top of that, energy prices are a big concern again, as they were last year,” she continues. “We’re expecting our heating bill for two old farmhouses to be close to £40,000. Our small team has to raise more than £1.5 million every year so we can offer these breaks at no charge to the children and their families. Life is tough for some children, but we can use your generous donations to bring a bit of sunshine and help create memories that will live on forever.”
Together with you, our readers, we are proud to support our four charity partners in continuing their incredible work into 2024 and beyond. Meet our chosen charities…