Five Charities That You Need To Know About In 2015

I passionately back the work of several different charities, large and small, particularly Mind - the mental health charity, for whom I continue to think of lots of new fundraising ideas ahead of my trip to Mongolia in September. 

However, there's certainly not enough space for every single charity that does great work in the dusty folds of my purse - and whilst I'd love to actively, and financially, support all of those charities who I believe are making a difference, it's impossible to dedicate the time and resources to every worthy cause. 

Today I thought I'd share five lesser known charities that I think deserve recognition and support from people around the world in the new year, do let me know which charities you support, and who you think deserves a larger following in 2015.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust

There are now two species of bumblebee extinct in the UK after a crash in numbers over the past 80 years, and a number of other British bumblebee species are facing serious endangerment.
Bumblebees are essential pollinators, and without them our gardens and countryside would be almost unrecognisable. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust undertakes important work to educate, conserve and reintroduce - working towards rescued bumblebee populations across the country. Check out their website for how you can support and help bumblebees in 2015, or find out exactly what they're up to in Winter. 

Photo credit: The Bumblebee Conservation Trust

There are a number of other charities working to help recover bee numbers in the UK and internationally as we face a genuine bee crisis. These include, but are not limited to Give Bees a Chance , International Bee Research Association , and Bees Abroad (who aim to help eliminate human poverty through bee keeping).

The Survivors Trust

Whilst many might feel that support and care for victims of rape and sexual abuse is lacking in the UK, The Survivors Trust is made up of 130 regional service providers who directly help such adults and children, and with greater public support, could continue to grow their resources and bring much needed relief to a huge number of people.

Often rape and sexual violence victims will have a complex range of requirements in terms of appropriate therapy, and helping them can be extremely difficult, which is why it's important to have dedicated services with trained professionals who understand and have experience of the needs of these victims - who often don't seek treatment or support until long after the incident(s), for a number of reasons. 

Living with the effects of rape and sexual violence can be devastating, both for the victim and their families and partners, but The Survivors Trust continue to ensure that people can get advice, treatment, information and support whenever and wherever they need it. 

Winston's Wish

I lost one of my parents to suicide when I was thirteen, and oddly enough, some of my closest friends have also lost a parent during their own childhood. I, and they, know the lasting effects of child bereavement, and also, how easily children's grief can be overlooked, unintentionally, after the death of a parent or close family member. 

Children often display a complex and unfamiliar range of emotions when faced with all-consuming depression. Unlike many adults, their initial grief will often be extremely vocal, aggressive and visible; however, they very quickly adopt seemingly "normal" patterns of behaviour, due predominantly to a child's amazing ability to adapt to change. As such, the adults around them can easily be forgiven for believing that a child is "coping well" with bereavement, as they make no outward show of their distress.

Unfortunately, research would suggest that very few children process and manage bereavement effectively, which is why most develop a variety of odd behaviours in adult life. Winston's Wish are a charity dedicated to providing support to bereaved children, both directly and by educating and supporting the child's family and care professionals including schools, to make sure that children receive appropriate care following a bereavement, rather than being left to "get on with it" because they "seem to be doing OK". 

Anyone who lost a parent during childhood will no doubt recognise how important it is that this charity is able to reach more and more children every year. 

Surfers Against Sewage

You don't have to be a surfer to support the work of SAS - look at me, I'm practically an anti-surfer, but one thing I am passionate about, is the state (and conservation) of British seas and beaches. 

Photo Credit: Surfers Against Sewage

Surfers Against Sewage campaign for cleaner, healthier seas, better for humans, and infinitely better for marine wildlife. From the use of single-use plastic bags that gradually ruin our environment, to what exactly we flush down the toilet - SAS have ideas and principles that everyone really ought to get behind. 

Surfers Against Sewage organise beach cleans all over the country, not just to improve the look and experience of using our beaches, but to catalogue and record the amount of human waste polluting our seas. Get involved in 2015. See what events are coming up near you at the Surfers Against Sewage website here

Food Cycle

I love Food Cycle - the objectives of their charity are so close to my heart that they're probably my "Charity of 2015" - quite simply, they are committed to reducing food waste and reducing food poverty, by taking volunteers and unwanted food, populating spare kitchen spaces across the country, and re-distributing food that would otherwise be thrown away, to people at risk of food poverty and /or social isolation. 

What's not to admire?

There are more than 4 million people at risk of food poverty in the UK, and at the same time, a huge amount of food waste (just this Christmas alone we shall throw away an estimated 5 million Christmas puddings). Getting this food our of landfill and in to hungry bellies is way too important to be ignored. 

Since 2009, Food Cycle have already redistributed over 130,000 kg of "waste" food to people in need, and it's essential that that number keeps on rising.

Find out more about Food Cycle on their website here, and look out for future posts on their work here on my blog.

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