Tis the season of goodwill and giving, and there are some seriously worthy causes in Manchester you can donate time, gifts and cash to this year.
While we’re all getting pumped for Christmas, it’s important to look beyond the festivities, markets, lights and feasts.
Christmas is also about community and your community needs you.
Now is the opportunity to help others, spread love and kindness – here in Manchester, we’re especially good at that.
While it’s been a chaotic year of ups and downs, if we all pull together, Christmas can be a winter wonderland for all.
And helping someone less fortunate with one small act that can truly make a world of difference.
Here is a list of top-class Manchester charities who are doing some brilliant work to make sure that Christmas comes to everyone.
Some of acts on this list will take ten seconds and others you can really roll your sleeves up and get stuck in.
Whatever you do, give some kindness this Christmas.
Action for Happiness
Action for Happiness’ ‘Do Good December’ is an advent calendar of good deeds. Complete their daily tasks to make the world a happier place one day at a time.
Tasks include: ‘Contact someone you can’t be with and see how they are.’ Or ‘Listen wholeheartedly to other without judging them.’
It’s free and easy to do in the run up to Christmas. Small acts of kindness really can make a huge difference.
Barnabus and Coffee4Craig
Conditions are worsening and the weather is expected to fall below zero again.
You can join the Winter Warriors and help those sleeping on the streets to access proper shelter.
Barnabus and Coffee4Craig need evening outreach helpers and people to work with the accommodation shelters.
Any form of support is much appreciated to help the homeless.
The BigGive Christmas Challenge is doubling donations at no extra cost this Christmas.
A small donation can make a huge difference to someone else’s situation.
Just £5 from you will double to £10 and provide someone with four nutritious meals in the community café.
A further £25 is doubled to £50 and pays for a nationally recognised qualification, a seriously important step on someone’s journey to securing meaningful employment.
It’s a wonderful foundation which could change a life.
Cash for Kids
Everyone needs a present this Christmas – so become Manchester’s secret Santa.
If you can, buy and extra gift for Mission Christmas and they will make sure it gets into the hands of a disadvantaged child, to make Christmas special for all.
All gifts should be new and unwrapped. Drop-off points are across the UK. There are seven locations here in Manchester.
Alternatively give gifts or donate cash online by registering and showing support.
Helping women and their families to get the basic supplies they need including toiletries, baby equipment, food and clothes.
Emmeline’s Pantry have set up an Amazon Wishlist and are asking if people could purchase toys and/or warm pyjamas for mothers.
Lady Pedal are also cycling round Manchester collecting new toys and foodbank donations on Sunday December 5.
To be on the Christmas collection route, just go to their website and fill out a form.
It’s a quick and really easy way to help a mother and her children this Christmas.
Contributing to a food bank is simple way to help people in your local area. Plus, it’s desperately needed.
Contact your local food bank to see what items they need and some Tweet regularly about what donations would make a difference.
Food banks are in Ardwick and Longsight, Burnage, Chorlton and Didsbury, Fallowfield and Withington, Manchester Central, South Central Manchester and Wythenshawe.
You can find more details on the Trussell Trust website.
Give your gift-wrapping a purpose other than to be ripped off in lightning speed.
Home-Start Manchester need volunteers to come and help gift-wrap at the Trafford Centre for two days.
Members of the public can come down and pay for gift-wrapping, all profits will be donated to Home-Start Manchester.
They are a local family support charity who train local parent volunteers to visit and support families with a least one child under the age of five.
Just three days of your Christmas countdown could be used to provide invaluable support.
Humans MCR need help with packing and delivering food to local people in need.
On December 21 and 22 they’ll be wrapping gifts, organising the food and sorting through nearly one tonne of fruit and veg.
On December 23 it’s delivery day, handing out hampers of food to those who need it most.
It’s a fun way to really help someone and gets you out the house away from the chaos for a few hours.
A huge variety of ways to help at Levenshulme Inspire – you’re not short of choice and it all aims to spread joy this Christmas.
Volunteer at the Lunch Club with elderly residents, the Market selling Christmas cards, a Craft volunteer inspiring families through craft, at Christmas concerts or serve a Christmas meal to one of their elderly users.
It’s a great way to spread smiles at an often lonely time for Manchester’s elderly residents.
Lifeshare helps those who are facing homelessness, poverty and loneliness – their work has never been more important.
The charity is appealing for volunteers to staff the project but also call out to those with specialist skills such as barbers, nurses, nail technicians, optometrists, dentists, podiatrists, and veterinarians.
However, specialist skills are not needed to really help this Christmas. It’s a vital cause that desperately needs you.
Manchester Central Library Development Trust
The impact of Covid on the children’s learning means that access to books at home has never been more important.
Help Manchester Central Library to give the gift of reading and donate to support the Book Gifting initiative.
As Nelson Mandela said, education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Change the world and put books into the hands of those who need them.
Manchester Foundation Trust Charity
On Tuesday December 14 at Manchester Cathedral, you can carol in support of NHS Manchester hospitals.
Performances will come from local choirs including Manchester Grammar School, Manchester High School for Girls and The Hammond School of Music.
The evening will also feature readings from their celebrity patrons.
Fun for all and get the littluns out and about while supporting the 2.5 million patients cared for across NHS hospitals every year.
Manchester Youth Zone
Manchester Youth Zone are making sure that every family they work with has a reason to smile at Christmas.
For many young people, Christmas is enjoyed through the eyes of others, but this year you could help make that change.
Volunteers are needed to decorate their buildings with festive lights and decorations, create care packages for families and get them ready for delivery and then finally be partnered with a team to deliver hampers and care packages.
The Manchester Youth Zone also host Holiday Club Time before and after Christmas where people can come together for arts, cooking, crafts and more.
This year will be hard for many people who will be experiencing their first Christmas after the death of a loved one.
All purchases from the Marie Curie shop will go to supporting their nurses and the families they support.
Buy some beautiful cards, hampers, ornaments and candles to brighten up your house and make sure no family goes without support this Christmas.
Miners Community Arts and Music
Moston Miners Community Arts and Music Centre has been bringing the community together in North Manchester for the last ten years.
On Friday December 17, they are planning on providing hot nutritional meals to local children and parents off the estate, as well as showing free films in the cinema, also with a gift for every child.
Northwest Air Ambulance Charity
The Northwest Air Ambulance operate tirelessly all year with highly skilled doctors and paramedics on board to enhance pre-hospital care.
They cover an area of 5,500 square miles and eight million people.
The charity is holding many fundraising events including Liverpool Santa Dash but you can also plan your own fundraising challenge or donate directly.
Whatever you decide, it’s a great charity who look after us all year so we can help at Christmas.
Shops across Manchester need Christmas Volunteers.
It’s an important time for Oxfam because they have a short window where they can capitalise on people searching for sustainable presents.
The money raised funds Oxfam’s emergency and development work all over the world, for example providing clean water and sanitation to camps for displaced people.
Get out the house and support sustainable shopping and help collect charitable donations.
Be Oxfam’s little helper.
Playlist for Life
#MyFestiveMemory promotes the power of personally meaningful music for people living with dementia.
Personal music can ease anxiety, bring back happy memories and help us to connect with loved ones.
You can help by visiting their online charity card shop or just sharing their message.
Many care leavers spend Christmas day alone in a bedsit, flats or sofa-surfing.
But this Christmas, Pure Insight are hosting Christmas dinner in Stockport for up to 50 young care leavers and their children.
On top of that, they will be delivering dinner for a further 30 young people and providing presents to 400 young care leavers.
There is loads to help with including cooking, hosting, providing transport for young people on Christmas day, fundraisers and delivery drivers.
Every winter thousands of vulnerable and innocent animals are abandoned and left out in the cold.
The RSPCA are helping to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome but they can’t do it alone.
Each and every supporter can help the animals ‘get back on their paws’ and into a loving home in time for Christmas.
Get into the Christmas spirit by helping others.
Volunteers are needed to sit at the information table at Morrisons in Cheadle for two hours to put a smile on people’s faces and collect donations.
It’s a great way to chat to new people, spread kindness and wish people a very happy Christmas.
The Christmas Project
The iconic Mancunian poet Lemn Sissay founded the annual project Christmas Dinner which provides an amazing Christmas Day for care leavers between 18 and 25.
Back for its ninth year, there is a lot to be done in preparation for The Manchester Christmas Dinner 2021.
Volunteers are needed to contribute to the planning, prep on Christmas Eve, host on Christmas day and drive around.
A selfless way for you to give your Christmas to those who help every day.
The Oasis Centre
Everyone wants to provide for their families this time of year – but some just do not have the means.
Every November the Oasis Centre make sure their charity shops are stocked full of new and second-hand goodies like toiletries, toys, games, jewellery, unwanted gifts and bric-a-brac.
Help make Christmas special for everyone and drop in some items that deserve a new and loving home.
Thrive Manchester are offering a free present wrapping service in Wythenshawe this Christmas and are looking for volunteers to help out.
If you can spare an hour to wrap presents or can donate wrapping paper, bows, gift tags or Sellotape, get down to the Civic Centre on December 17 and 21.
Wood Street Mission
At Christmas, Wood Street Mission provides new toys and gifts for children aged 0-14 years old from struggling families across Manchester and Salford, to make sure they have something special to open on Christmas Day.
Families come and choose the gifts they would like to give their children from the selection donated by supporters.
They need your donations of new toys, gifts or books, unwrapped for ages 0-14 years old.
They are taking donations until Friday 10th December 2021.
Featured image: Fareshare / Wood Street Mission