Giving Tuesday: Welcome antidote to consumer greed

Paul Reddish
Paul Reddish
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It could be the perfect antidote to the spending blitz of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

For today has been declared Giving Tuesday – when Edinburgh charities are joining a global day of giving aimed at encouraging everyone to enter the seasonal spirit by donating to help others.

Several city charities have signed up to be part of a massive online social media “thunderclap” style campaign which will flood Facebook and Twitter with #GivingTuesday messages.

The hope is that after a weekend of shopping excess, during which British shoppers spent around £3.5 billion, thoughts might turn to giving to those in need instead.

More than 1100 organisations across the UK are taking part, with thousands more involved in 68 countries across the globe.

Closer to home in Edinburgh and across Lothian, many charities are planning to join the online movement. Most are smaller-scale organisations which rely on donations and local support to continue their good work.

They include Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust, which raises funds to help improve local green spaces, the Bethany Christian Trust, Homeless World Cup, Gorgie City Farm and homeless charity Streetwork.

Edinburgh-based Project Scotland, which connects young people with volunteering opportunities, is going further than joining the social media buzz.

The charity’s chief executive Paul Reddish has agreed to wear a pink tutu, fairy wings and dance for donations. As the amount raised increases, he’s pledged to perform a different dance. The goal is to raise £500, at which stage Paul plans a “grand finale” YMCA dance.

Joyce Clark, of Freshstart, which helps homeless people find their feet in a new home by supplying them with starter packs of household essentials, said Giving Tuesday was a chance to highlight the organisation’s work and encourage support.

“We will be tweeting and talking about Giving Tuesday all day,” she said. “We want to raise money and awareness about our Cookers for Christmas appeal, so we can raise money to buy cookers that might otherwise be thrown out.”

Also taking part is West Lothian-based Eczema Outreach Scotland. Spokeswoman Alison Sweeney said: “This is a great way for us to hopefully raise some money but more than that it’s about raising awareness of what we do and how we can help.”

Edinburgh Science Festival’s Generation Science project, which takes science lessons to Scotland’s primary schools, is also taking part.

“This #GivingTuesday, we’ll be promoting the work we do and asking for donations – big or small – to help us take world-class science shows and workshops directly to primary schools,” said a spokeswoman.

According to Gillian Messelink, of Edinburgh-based charity Cyrenians, Giving Tuesday is an ideal chance for smaller charities to have their voices heard at a busy time of year.

“With Black Friday and Cyber Monday there’s a feeling of excess around this time of year,” she said. “Giving Tuesday was developed so if you’ve had a shopping blow out over the weekend, you might be thinking of giving something back to a charity or organisation in your area.

“Recently we have been sharing very powerful stories of how we have changed lives. Now we are asking if people to support us and to consider joining our regular giving programme.”

Bethany Christian Trust is taking part in the hope of raising money to support its winter Care Shelter which provides accommodation and food for homeless people.

Giving Tuesday, which is backed by the Charities Aid Foundation, arrived in the UK last year after a successful launch in America.