Herald Opinion: Less public support for local charities a worrying prospect

IT WAS extremely disappointing to see the Salvation Army’s tin appeal has recorded its worst ever results this Christmas.

For the past 14 years this very worthy cause has helped to bring a bit of festive cheer to the town’s under-privileged and most vulnerable residents, whether they are elderly, homeless or have just fallen on hard times economically.

The Herald has supported the appeal since its inception in 1996 and this year it very sad to report that fewer parcels were dispatched to those in need, despite some very generous donations from the town’s business community and individual donors.

Perhaps its a sign of the current times and something which could be a cause for concern for other charities.

The recent severe weather conditions certainly wouldn’t have helped and elsewhere in the paper the British Heart Foundation has said donations at its shop in Terminus Road have dropped as temperatures have plummeted.

But the tin appeal was launched way back in mid-November before the cold spell began to bite and the drop-off points were conveniently based at all of Eastbourne’s major supermarkets.

Instead it seems more likely that in light of the Government’s continuing austerity measures, people are watching their pennies and concluding that charity begins a little closer to home.

And who can blame them when food and petrol prices are soaring but salaries are often as frozen as the December pavements.

This is a worrying prospect for the countless charities and voluntary organisations which rely on public support, especially as many of these groups are already facing funding cuts.

ON A lighter note, a handful of hardy (some might say slighly bonkers) swimmers once again took the plunge on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

A Christmas swim in a freezing cold sea isn’t everyone’s cup of egg nog but it’s becoming a modern day tradition and a good way of raising funds for local and national charities.

So congratulations to them for making the effort to get off the sofa and donning their Speedos.