Caring Christmas Tree
In these days of financial uncertainty, as the world is rocked by headline after headline of credit crunch crisis, organisations in the charity sector are feeling the squeeze like never before. In a sector where every penny counts, charities are desperate to seek out more innovative ways to raise funds or be forced to cut services to people who really need them.
With the pressure on, four Scottish-based charities have chosen to direct their energies into a special Christmas Appeal. Bethany Christian Trust (Edinburgh and Fife), Kibble (Paisley), ImpactArts (Glasgow) and Gowrie Care (Dundee and Perth) are part of an innovative seasonal project which involves selling real, quality, freshly-cut Christmas Trees from sustainable tree farms to raise much-needed funds for the life-changing services the charities offer. The success of this festive project, known as "Caring Christmas Trees", depends on customers pre-ordering their Christmas trees online. Every customer can choose their preferred tree size, collection point and collection date in December. Operational costs are kept to a minimum through the online pre-booking system and distribution and promotion being done by volunteers.
Bethany Christian Trust pioneered Caring Christmas Trees, a Social Enterprise, which has been operating for the past 3 years, initially in Edinburgh and later in Fife. Bethany is convinced the project is a life-saver for many people as Catherine Rawlinson-Watkins, Fundraising and Marketing Manager at Bethany Christian Trust explains: "Bethany runs life-line homelessness services providing for the most basic of human needs; shelter, warmth, food and a listening ear, but the problem is raising enough funds. The Christmas trees scheme makes so much sense. If people are going to buy a Christmas tree, they may as well buy one that will help someone out this winter. The trees are top quality and needle-last and everyone enjoys coming along and choosing the right tree for them. It's a really festive and fun way to show you care at Christmas."
The three other charities getting involved with Caring Christmas Trees for the first time this year are excited at the prospect. They are raising much needed funds for the following services: Kibble's Accord Hospice (Paisley), ImpactArts' Fab Pad which helps homeless people create a home they love and Creative Pathways which enables young people with little or no opportunities to make a future they can look forward to (Glasgow) and Gowrie Care's Enabling Fund offering support to people with no source of income to assist with employment, education, clothing, assistance with setting up a home, holidays and leisure opportunities (Dundee and Perth).
The four charities are convinced by the project, but what about the public? Previous customers were heart-felt in their approval of the charity trees scheme: "the quality is excellent and I will definitely be back for another one next year"; "I thought the whole Caring Christmas Trees concept was excellent, and a painless way for many of us to do something useful with our Christmas expenditure".
So it seems the only ethical way to buy a Christmas tree these days is to buy a charity tree. Well, if you're going to buy one anyway, why not? www.caringchristmastrees.com or call 0845 111 8733.
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