As we approach the end of 2016 and we begin to look back over the past twelve months, it can certainly feel like this year's been a particularly tough one.
For some, it feels as if our country has never been so divided, and on a global level the disharmony and destruction that we've seen throughout 2016 is worrying to say the least. But in the wake of all of this discord, there is one positive story that I think deserves some attention.
#givingtuesday is the international day to do good stuff for charity, and in its third year in the UK, this campaign says a lot about the generous British spirit, and our desire to do good for others.
The campaign is supported by some of the UK's biggest brands and charities, and asks that people commit to doing something in support of their favourite charity or cause on one day of the year (this year 29th November). That action can be whatever they want, and in a year when we've seen little consensus on anything, that freedom is most likely very welcome.
The day is a celebration of charity, of generosity, and of kindness. From the small cafe in Stockport which donated profits on the day to a local charity, to the 8 year old boy who sold his toys to raise money for War Child, this campaign was full of wonderful, inspirational stories of humankind.
The day also extended further, to the big businesses of the world. Often facing criticism for putting profits before people, businesses used the day to show just how important charitable acts are to them and to their customers. Morrisons raised £10,000 at their tills with the help of customers for Sue Ryder Hospice Care, Virgin companies donated space across all of their websites to talk about charities, the Entertainer - getting ready for its busiest time of the year - gave up all of their high street windows to display messages of thanks to staff and customers who support good causes all year round. This is the kind of high street I think we all want - yes, one that gives us sales, but also one that shows it has a heart.
The day was the UK's number 1 topic on social media, it broke a world record for charitable donations, with over 1,600 partners taking part, it seems as though it's a movement that's not going anywhere anytime soon.
The power of #givingtuesday rests with the coalition of people that come behind it. It's probably one of very few things that can claim support from both Jeremy Corbyn, David Cameron and Tony Blair, for example. But it's strength lies in its ability to unite, and particularly in 2016 that seems like something we should all welcome. In a year when far more has divided us as a country, such unity has been a long time coming.
We will never all agree on everything, but we can at least share some common values including the belief that doing good for other people is a worthwhile cause. I'm glad for that at least one day in November, we put our differences aside and came together. Perhaps we can all try and do that a little bit more next year?Suggest a correction