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If you struggle with the consumerism surrounding Christmas, but still want to give gifts to your loved ones, there could be an answer. A number of online shops are selling socially-conscious gifts which can benefit those forced onto the streets.
Figures released earlier this year found rough sleeping in England has increased for the seventh consecutive year – and TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, who works closely with charity Centrepoint, believes it’s only going to get worse with Brexit.
Now, more than ever, we need to be kinder to one another, especially to those living on the streets. (It’s thought the average person is only three missed pay cheques away from homelessness). So here are some items you can buy which give back to the homeless community.
These eye-catching beauties are made using waste magazine paper and come packaged on a printed postcard. They’re made by Quazi Design in Eswatini, Southern Africa, which is a fair trade women’s empowerment project that focuses on skills training and helps them earn a living wage. As they’re sold by the Big Issue, profits go back into both Quazi Design and helping the homeless. The ultimate feel-good gift.
Yellow earrings, Big Issue Shop, £10
David Attenbrrrr! Christmas Jumper
Whoever you buy this for will absolutely look the part on Christmas Day – and a homeless person will be a bit warmer too. The green unisex jumper from Not Just features a festive print (snowflakes and reindeer feature heavily) with David Attenborough holding a robin on the front, and a large planet Earth on the back. For every jumper sold, a jumper is donated to the homeless. There’s also a fabulous Gareth Southgate knit too.
David Attenborough Christmas jumper, Not Just, £34.99
Secret Santa Pack
Why not agree with your partner, friends or family members that you’ll buy something for a homeless person instead of each other? Linkey is offering a Secret Santa package which includes essential items such as a warm hat, gloves, socks, hand-warmers and – a little something to spread some festive cheer – chocolates. You pay online, they distribute to a homeless person in need. Simple.
Secret Santa gift, Linkey, £12
Stand4Socks sells individual pairs of socks and – handy for Christmas – sock gift sets. For every pair purchased it gives a pair of thick, black, durable socks to a homeless person. The ones above come as part of a gift set of three pairs. They are made from bamboo fibre which is not only super soft but also 100% biodegradable – so great news for the planet too.
Sock set, Stand4Socks, £39.99 (for a set) / £9.99-£11.99 (for individual pairs)
Cathedral Screen Print
This screen print was made by a homeless person and is sold by Aerende, an online shop championing social change. The piece is inspired by the artist’s local cathedral, where he goes to keep dry on a Sunday morning, and is printed on cotton-based paper from St Cuthberts Mill in Somerset. Each one is signed by the artist, known as the Woodsman. The cellophane wrapping is biodegradable.
Screen print, Aerende, £35
The stainless steel Jerry Bottle comes in a variety of colours - from Pacific Blue (above) to Sunset Orange – and features double-wall vacuum insulation which keeps drinks hot for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours (the dream). The wide rim also makes it easy to drink and clean. Jerry Bottle is a social enterprise which sells water bottles to fund water projects around the world. Money from this purchase goes straight back into both Jerry Bottle and the Big Issue.
Jerry Bottle, Big Issue Shop, £19.99
This 100% lambswool tartan scarf designed by specialist Kilt-maker Slanj is all about raising awareness of the plight of homeless people. It comes with a ‘Help the Homeless’ label and a proportion of profits go right back into helping the homeless community in Scotland.
Tartan scarf, Big Issue Shop, £20
Big Issue’s online shop is home to loads of beautiful homeware, including candles, kitchenware and this printed cushion made by Neema, a social enterprise which trains and employs disabled people in Tanzania. All UK sales profits go towards sustaining the enterprise and supporting a housing project which assists its staff to build their own homes. Each purchase comes with a thank you card.
Cushion, Big Issue Shop, £26.99
For homeless young people, Christmas can be an incredibly lonely time. Charity Centrepoint offers gift packages, with the money spent going directly to help the homeless. For a tenner, you can buy a homeless person Christmas dinner which they’ll share with others in their service. Some other gift options include a £50 hamper, which provides enough food to last them a week, plus some little luxuries for the New Year, and a £250 Christmas success box providing them with a room for a year, a study kit and a nutritious meal.
Christmas dinner for a homeless person, Centrepoint, £10
This stylish rucksack - known as ‘The Explorer’ - is handmade in full-grain leather and sold by DECE which educates, employs and empowers families living in poverty. Its structured satchel-style design makes it stylish for the workplace yet practical enough for weekend adventures.
Rucksack, Big Issue Shop, £135
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