Bring a smile to the face of a homeless young person this Christmas

Posted On 08 Dec 2020 at 4:40 pm

A youth homeless charity is giving its Christmas shoebox campaign a 2020 makeover and taking it online.

YMCA Downslink usually asks people to fill shoeboxes with gifts for the 763 young people it houses in Sussex and Surrey as part of its Love in a Box campaign.

This year, it’s asking people to donate online so key workers can buy presents for the people they look after.

And the silver lining to the logistical problems posed by covid means that the residents will get more personalised presents.

Bill, young man living in 24-hour supported accommodation, said: “My favourite thing about living at the YMCA is feeling safe and protected. The staff have had a big impact on me, and I’ve had some really good support from them.

“They have been patient and accepting of me and my “luggage” (which is a lot less now ��)”

Leaha, a young woman living with YMCA DownsLink Group, had a passion for football and wanted to play in an international tournament. Thanks to generous donations, she was bought a pair of football boots and fulfilled her dream.

About a third of the young people YMCA Downslink helps are care leavers, some as young as 16.

Anyone can buy a virtual gift or donate via You can also buy a gift on behalf of someone else, a great option for a secret Santa gift.

It is also possible to specify which area within Sussex and Surrey you would like your money to go to.

To find out more visit

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