Almost £1m raised for Guardian and Observer Christmas charity appeal

Charities supporting homeless young people and destitute asylum seekers praise generosity of readers

The Guardian and Observer 2017 charity appeal in aid of homeless youngsters and destitute asylum seekers is closing in on the £1m mark, a fortnight after launching.

Buoyed by heightened public and media interest in homelessness in recent weeks, this will be the third year in a row that Guardian and Observer readers have raised over £1m for appeal charities. The campaign runs until 7 January.

The often life-changing interventions made by our three appeal charities and their volunteers are featured in an ongoing series of special features and films in our newspapers and on the Guardian website.

The charities are Centrepoint, Depaul UK and the No Accommodation Network (Naccom), all of whom deliver and support vital work on the frontline of homelessness and destitution in the UK.

Some online donors have left messages to say why they gave money to the appeal. Mary Calderwood said: “The thought of destitute young people, with little or no hope, is shocking and distressing in a country regarded as one of the wealthiest in the world.”

Several donors noted that the problems of homelessness had got visibly worse in their local communities. One said: “Every time I see a homeless person, I am reminded that, had circumstances been different, that could have been my children or grandchildren.”

Hazel Williams, national director of Naccom, said: “The generosity of Guardian and Observer readers is fantastic – not only does it remind us that people out there do care, but vitally it will help us in reducing destitution. So, on behalf of all those we work with, thank you to every single person who is supporting this appeal.”

Centrepoint and Depaul UK praised readers for refusing to stand by in the face of a growing problem, and said the donations would make a real difference to the lives of the people they worked with.

Last weekend the appeal was boosted by the annual charity telethon, during which Guardian and Observer journalists took a record £53,000 in donations from readers over the phones.

Centrepoint and Depaul run services aimed at providing shelter and support to homeless 16- to 25-year-olds. Naccom represents a network of more than 40 local charities and projects which specialise in housing destitute asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who have no recourse to public funds.

Naccom will use its share of the Guardian and Observer appeal donations to build the capacity of its network and support frontline projects via a selective grants process that will be open to its full members.

Launching the appeal a fortnight ago, the Guardian and Observer editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, said the campaign was a response to the “increasingly visible and distressing” rise in homelessness and destitution in recent years.

This week a cross-party committee of MPs described homelessness as a national crisis and said the current government’s approach to tackling the problems had been “an abject failure”.

The 2016 Guardian and Observer charity appeal raised £1.7m for three refugee charities. The previous year the appeal raised £2.5m for six refugee charities.

Contributor

Patrick Butler

The GuardianTramp

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