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Give a young person facing homelessness in Guildford a Magical Christmas? Could you be someone’s Christmas Angel?

2nd December 2021

YMCA DownsLink Group, the South-East’s largest charity supporting vulnerable young people, has launched it’s 2021 Christmas fundraising appeal. It’s asking local people to become ‘Christmas Angels’ and help put a smile on the faces of young people without family to be with.

Every night YMCA DownsLink Group provides a safe home to 763 young people at risk of homelessness, some as young as 16. But, more than just a home, they give those vulnerable young people a second chance and a future to look forward to. This year they want to make sure that they can also look forward to a happy Christmas too. They want everyone living with them to get a personal Christmas present and an invite to a magical Christmas day, something many of us, with supportive families, take for granted.

Charlie Worsfold, a former resident explains exactly what it meant to her to spend Christmas with YMCA:

“I spent 2 Christmas in the YMCA. I remember one year I was out of work and spending Christmas Eve there alone with no gifts or cards. I woke to receive a box full of amazing treats, slippers, bath goodies etc and was cooked an amazing dinner. The residents were all so happy and the atmosphere was great. I will always appreciate the effort and thought that went into ensuring we were not alone at Christmas. You have no idea what impact that place had on my life and future. I’m so thankful and lucky. ”

By donating to the campaign, you will have a direct impact on a young person’s experience of Christmas. You probably take presents at Christmas for granted, but, for a young person, without family, such a simple act of kindness, the giving of a gift, show’s them someone has thought about them and cares. It is hard to put into words what a difference this can make to a young person who hasn’t experienced much love in their lives.

Key Workers at YMCA DownsLink Group get to know the young people who live with them well, in some cases they’re more like surrogate family.  Money raised by the campaign will enable them to buy something thoughtful and personal that really lets the young person know that they are cared for. It could be something to help them pursue a passion or hobby, or something they desperately need; a decent coat, warm jumper or new trainers.

This was just some of the feedback from young residents last year:

“I was so happy to get a lovely pair of shoes. I never have new things.”

“I was excited to get a voucher so I could buy some furniture for my room – it’s made my room feel so homely.”

“I can’t believe that someone I don’t even know has given me a gift. It makes me feel warm inside.”

Every year, YMCA DownsLink Group’s amazing staff and volunteers give up their time at Christmas to make the festive season special for their young residents. Any young resident who doesn’t have family to be with is invited to spend Christmas Day with them. Every project does it slightly differently, but all of them will have a traditional Christmas lunch, games, and most importantly a warm welcome and family atmosphere.

When you donate, you can also specify that you want your donation to go to YMCA DownsLink Group’s Guildford Foyer, so that you are really helping a vulnerable young person living close to you.

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