This Christmas, Centrepoint will help hundreds of young homeless people find a warm place to stay and access to advice and job opportunities. The charity's theme is "getting young people out of boxes" - the literal ones in which some live and those of prejudice, poverty, mental health problems and inadequate education. They are also challenging the boxes of prejudice labelled "scrounger" and "criminal". This is why, for the Independent on Sunday's Christmas Appeal, we are asking readers to support their work not just through donations of cash, food or blankets, although these are welcome, but with Christmas gifts. For example, for many young people owning a watch or having the opportunity to choose a book or record will be a major step. For young people looking for jobs, a Filofax would be a present which shows they are valued as the sort of person who will one day have a job. Meanwhile, the new emergency winter shelter at Admiralty Arch, which has 60 beds, may be one of the best addresses in London, but inside it still lacks the sort of resources that could turn it from a roof over a young person's head into a temporary home. "We are not just warehousing people over winter," says Centrepoint. "We are providing a safe and welcoming environment, and a path to resettlement, education and work."
Any of the following would be gratefully received from individuals or companies:
By post - To Centrepoint, Fundraising Office, Bewlay House, 2, Swallow Place, London W1R 7AA:
Art and craft materials
Book and record tokens
New socks and underwear
Posters for walls
Fax details of larger or more expensive items such as:
Table tennis tables
to: Fundraising Department, 0171 493 2120.
Credit card donations - Freephone 0800 232321.
Cheques can be sent to the Fundraising Office address above.