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Surviving Christmas 2013

Surviving Christmas 2013  poster

Surviving Christmas 2013 poster

[Received from Surviving Christmas, Nov 2013]


We realise that this is a difficult time to launch an appeal as most people are feeling the effect of rising prices. However, the people who are hardest hit by the economic situation and changes to funding and services are those who receive a low income, the elderly and the disabled. These are the vulnerable people Surviving Christmas aim to support with your help.

Every year the number of requests from professional agencies for our help has increased and this year is no exception. We aim to help in three ways: families receive food vouchers, the housebound and elderly receive a Christmas hamper and adults, lonely or without facilities to provide for themselves, can come to a three day open house Christmas event held between 25th -27th December at the Y Centre, St Paul’s Rd, St. Leonards. We cannot do this without your support.

Our attached Newsletter will provide some detail on how our projects helped our community last year, and when and how you can get involved this year.

How you can help:

* Monetary donations can be made online at This is the most efficient way to donate and our preferred method of accepting donations.

Cheques can be made payable to Surviving Christmas and sent to PO Box 290, Hastings TN34 9DT or accepted in person at the Y Centre between 20th – 23 December 2013.

* Join our volunteers raising funds on collection dates around the town – details can be found on our fundraising Facebook page and on our

* Donate food (non-perishable and in-date), toiletries, presents, toys and games for hampers.

* Donate clothes for our Clothes Bank.


Food, gifts and clothing donations can be delivered to: The Y Centre, St Paul’s Road, St Leonards, TN37 6RS from 20th December until Christmas Eve, between 10am and 4pm.

The work of Surviving Christmas is entirely funded by the generosity of local people so please help us make this Christmas a cheerful one by supporting the vulnerable within our community.

With our very best wishes.

On behalf of Trustees of Surviving Christmas


4472 individual recipients benefited from your support during 2012!

Whether you gave a monetary donation, food, gifts or time volunteering during our 2012 project you gave a gift that helped over 1500 families in the local area. We provided vouchers, hampers, meals and services.  On behalf of the 4472 individuals the committee would like to thank you for your contribution.  We hope that we can call upon you once again to ensure that our community receives the support it deserves this year.

Thinking About 2013

About now you’re probably starting to plan for Christmas and you’ll want to be sure that any gift you make to charity will make a real difference; where the sacrifice made by yourself or your family or on behalf of your organisation will be truly worthwhile and genuinely appreciated.

That’s where Surviving Christmas comes in: Since 1985 this local charity has been helping the vulnerable people of Hastings, St Leonards and Rother, providing food and company over the Christmas period, delivering hampers and despatching vouchers to local people in need.

Peter is living proof that Surviving Christmas is not just about getting through those few days, but about hope for the future. 

He speaks with quiet sincerity about when he lived through difficult times.  Christmas for him was simply a time when the streets emptied and doors closed, leaving him entirely hopeless, and lonelier than ever.  When he heard mention of a free meal at the YMCA he was doubtful, but with nowhere else to go, he headed there anyway and was amazed at the warmth of the welcome he received.

The place was pulsing with the generosity and enthusiasm of the volunteers, and the food and company were offered without question or judgement. The experience renewed his faith in the care of his local community. It gave him hope and inspired him to find a way out of his situation. 

Peter is now a valued member of the Surviving Christmas volunteering team, determined to give back to the community by sharing his life experience and knowledge for the benefit of others.  He dedicates his limited spare time to raising funds for this charity which he knows at first-hand makes such a vital difference to people in genuine need.

So, if you want your generous charity gift to really help vulnerable people right here in your local community, then please give to Surviving Christmas.  A copy of the 2013 Poster is printed with this newsletter; please pass it on or place it on a notice board to spread the word.

Extending Our Support

2013 is likely to be another demanding year as the economic situation remains difficult for low income families.

Last year, to provide additional support we donated hampers to the Food Bank and Family Support Network in Hastings and St. Leonard’s to distribute in the weeks after Christmas.

For many years the charity has supported the local women’s Refuges with clothing and hampers.  During the 2012 project we became aware of the plight of those leaving the safety of refuge and donated 10 air beds for emergency use.    In addition, we secured £750 from the White Ribbon Fund administered by Hastings Voluntary Action to help with the cost of basic items for resettlement.  With help from our local stores, the first few starter packs have been delivered and put to use.

Caroline Brewer (Sainsbury’s) and Lorraine Turvey (Surviving Christmas) with donated microwaves for the Moving On Project.


Refuge “Moving On” Project Moves On!

Refuges were delighted to receive the first starter packs for women moving on from Hastings and Rother refuges as part of the Moving On Project run by Surviving Christmas.  Jo Egan-Payne, Deputy Manager, says “Often the women and children moving out of the refuges into their own accommodation have none of the basic items to make a house a home – such as a kettle, mugs, plates, a microwave, or even beds.  Surviving Christmas’s fantastic project has changed this, and the women who have received the packs have been touched to learn that someone is thinking of them at their hour of need.  Certainly I’ve seen a few tears from women who are overwhelmed by the generosity of the people who have put the packs together.  It has made the women’s moves much easier, at a time when they feel vulnerable.  Thanks so much!”

Here is some of the feedback from the women who have received packs so far.

 “I can’t thank you enough for getting me the starter pack. I had nothing to take with me as the flat I took happened within a few days, and all of a sudden I was moving in. The starter pack had fantastic items that I just could not have done without.”

 “Thank you so much for all the items I received. I’ve never had such a kind donation to help me set up with in my new property. The items have helped me out no end.”

 “I am so delighted with all the lovely things I’ve been given, and I’m especially grateful for the blow up bed as without this my daughter would not have had a bed to sleep on until I can save the money for a proper one.”


We have a wonderful army of volunteers who come out each year to help deliver our projects.  Although most of our work is done at Christmas we need people to help fundraise, organise events, co-ordinate volunteers, give talks and collect and move donated items throughout the year.

Jane was a first time volunteer last year and here is her story.

Getting Involved – Jane

For a few years my teenage children and I had wanted to help out with Surviving Christmas. It’s a great cause and it felt the right thing to do, give up time to help in some way and to add some meaning to the Christmas season other than shopping and eating! Normally we spend Christmas with relatives so aren’t around on the day itself, and it was when a friend mentioned that he helped out in the run up to Christmas Day that we realised that this would be an option. So, we attended the volunteers’ meeting and put our names down for a couple of sessions.

I volunteered to help with sorting gifts and was able to attend a couple of sessions a few days before Christmas Day. The atmosphere in the hall was organised and industrious, with a sense of people working together to achieve something special. Many of the people there were ‘ old hands ‘ at this. My son went along on a couple of days to help with sorting out groceries. There seemed so much to prepare, not only for the activities to take place at the Y Centre but also for the van deliveries and it was quite obvious that many hands make light work.

We also helped with the Keane busking event and went through the crowd with the collection buckets. It was quite overwhelming how generous people were and it was great to see their faces when they realised who was singing in Priory Meadow. The atmosphere was upbeat and I think encouraged people to donate to this worthy cause. Some people said that the performance made a great start to their Christmas, which is how it felt for us by helping out at Surviving Christmas, knowing that our efforts may have helped someone have a better Christmas Day.

I would recommend to anybody who is fortunate enough to be able to give up a little bit of spare time to go along to the volunteering evening and sign up to help out in any way they can. We will be doing so again.


If this has inspired you to get involved why not come along to our volunteers meeting on 4th December 2013 at 7.30pm at Y Centre, St Paul’s Rd, St Leonards TN37 6RS. Email us at or call us on 01424 424550.



Our supporters have done some amazing things to help raise funds, completing half marathons, baking biscuits, car boot sales, quiz nights and cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats which Peter Preston achieved between 25th May and 7th June 2013! Well done, an amazing achievement!

Xtrax young people gave up their time to support us at the Hastings Carnival this year.  They had such fun they’ve volunteered to help out this Christmas!

You will probably see us out and about in the local area at various events fundraising.  We can be easily identified by our bright red t-shirt.  When we are not part of an organized event, such as the carnival or bonfire night, we will always have a badge, collection bucket with a permit number and a telephone number for you to contact should you have any concerns.  Please note that donations of food and clothing are co-ordinated via our office so please ensure that you book a collection.

If you would like to help plan, host or support any of our fundraising events, get in contact by email at, by telephone on 01424 424550, via Facebook at SurvivingChristmasHastings or follow us on twitter #survivingxmas. 

A big thank you to all our local churches, schools, colleges, community groups, trusts and charities, businesses and individuals who supported us in 2012, with special thanks to

  • the school children who provided decorated boxes and images to help decorate the hall at the Y Centre
  • Hastings Direct, for utilising their community days and providing a handsome monetary donation!
  • Audi (Tonbridge), Autism Sussex, Fairlight Nursery, and 1066 Bakery for their fundraising and contributions
  • Hastings Designer for our letterhead and t-shirt logo printing and Link Signs for our marketing banners!

SUPPORTERS Here are some of our continuous supporters! Hendy Hire.  Sacia. Visionary Soap. Abbey Catering. Masons Music. Fountain & Sons. Arcade Butchers. Earls Bakery. The Darvell Community. Richard Stevens. And finally thank for you to The Imaging Centre Ltd, Tunbridge Wells for their help and support to print our newsletter!

LETTERS Each year we get many thank you letters and messages from those who benefit from our projects.  Here are some of their comments.

“Dear friends, thank you for the huge box of food and toiletries that you gave my father for Christmas, and for the gift (of a hat and gloves).  That was very kind of you.  Your gift was a lovely surprise”. on behalf of Mr W.  

“To Surviving Christmas Angels!!! … thank you very much for your lovely visit on the days before Christmas.  Your kindness is very much appreciated.  

Thank you for all your kindness to the oldies.  It’s so lovely to know we are remembered”. Mr & Mrs B.  

“We would just like to say a big thank you to you all for your wonderful support” Mr & Mrs C.  


2012 was a tough year for the charity with many changes to trustees.  We would like to thank all members for their contribution during their time and in particular for the continued support and advice.  A special mention goes to Lionel Parr who left and returned as Treasurer during 2012/13 following the sudden departure of his replacement due to serious illness.  Thank you for stepping in and picking up the Treasurer baton once again.   

During 2013 trustees Trevor Morgan, Alison Freelander, Jean Gillam and Lionel Parr have been joined by Ann Andrews, Symon Hewish and Alexis Collins.


Throughout December you can drop food donations at our collection box based instore at Morrisons, Queens Road, Hastings.

4th Volunteer Meeting. 7.30pm, Y Centre, St Paul’s Rd, St Leonard’s, TN37 6RS. 

6th / 7th Christmas Bizarre The School Creative Centre, Rye.  

14th Surviving Christmas – Fundraising Event. Priory Meadow Shopping Centre Hastings.  

16th Surviving Christmas – How You Can Help. Priory Meadow Shopping Centre Hastings. 

17th Tesco Superstore. Churchwood Drive, St Leonard’s, fundraising collection. 

18th, 19th 20th Sainsbury. John Macadam Way, Sedlescombe Rd, food and monetary collection. 

20th Hamper Project. 

25th-27th 3 Day Event. Y Centre, St Paul’s Rd, St Leonard’s, TN37 6RS.



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