Christmas is a time which can be difficult for many, especially for those who cannot see their loved ones. There are many amazing charities which provide help and support to military personnel and their families over the festive period.
Our Blue Team have noted just a few acts of kindness for the forces community this Christmas.
Operation Christmas Box
As a thank you from the nation, registered charity Operation Christmas Box provide festive boxes full of presents (often referred to as the Square Stocking) to those serving overseas at Christmas. The gifts provide an uplift for members spending the festive period away from loved ones.
Last year, the charity sent 7,900 gift boxes to British military personnel away on duty over the period; boxes are sent to ships, submarines and Air Stations worldwide. Continuing a tradition since 1914, Operation Christmas Box works closely with the Ministry of Defence to ensure gifts are received in time for Christmas. Find out how to get involved here.
Give Us Time
Established in 2013, Give Us Time was founded by ex-Army medic Liam Fox MP. The charity provides respite breaks to forces families in need, acknowledging the strain that military life can put on families, couples and children. Give Us Time offers the military community with some precious time together, matching donated holidays with service families in need.
Give us Time recognises the vital role that family plays in supporting serving and ex-forces personnel and believes time together is crucial. The charity, along with ambassador Ant Middleton, encourages others to give ‘The Gift of Time’, calling for donations towards travel and associated costs as well as available property. Read the stories of families who have been away with the help of Give us Time here.
Tickets for Troops
With a similar ethic, Tickets for Troops offer free tickets to Armed Forces' members and medically discharged personnel, as well as their families. This is particularly important at difficult times of year, such as anniversaries, Remembrance Day and Christmas. The service provides the deserved opportunity for the military community to enjoy an event, from sports matches to musicals.
Tickets are generously donated to the charity, by football clubs, festivals and racecourses, and must be applied for on the website. Applicants will then receive tickets on a first come, first serve basis or be entered into a ballot. Find Christmas events here.
Walking with the Wounded
Walking with the Wounded supports veterans in post-service life to regain independence and employment prospects. The charity’s programmes offer help and advice to vulnerable, wounded, injured and sick veterans, helping them to reintegrate back into society. Walking with the Wounded focus on veterans who have been physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged, including those who are homeless or in the Criminal Justice System.
Their annual Christmas challenge ‘Walking Home for Christmas’ is a fundraising event open to everyone, in partnership with Help for Heroes. The simple but effective challenge runs from 13 – 23 December and includes anything from a family outing to a dog walk with a difference. Fundraisers can carve out their own story with loved ones for the cause of helping veterans struggling with isolation, unemployment and mental health issues over Christmas.
In the first part of the blog, which can be found here, our Blue Team consider a few acts of kindness for military children at Christmas who may be unable to spend the festive period with central figures.