High demand forces temporary suspension of Big Give Christmas scheme

The website for the match-funding scheme was unable to cope with demand

Sir Alec Reed, who set up the Big Give
Sir Alec Reed, who set up the Big Give

The match-funding scheme the Big Give temporarily suspended its Christmas Challenge scheme this morning after its website was unable to cope with demand.

The scheme, which has £5m to match-fund public donations made through the Big Give website to participating charities, opened to the public this morning.

The funding has been donated by philanthropists, charity trustees and foundations, including the Reed Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation.

People trying to access the site were greeted with a message apologising for the difficulties. "The Big Give is experiencing high traffic volume," a statement on the site said. "We have temporarily halted the Christmas Challenge but expect to be back online soon." The message initially said it would be back online by 2pm.

The appeal closes on Friday and the amount of match funding available will be staggered over the next five days. Last year the challenge raised more than £9m for charity, with the first £1m raised in 45 minutes.

Sir Alec Reed, who set up the Big Give, which helps philanthropists find charities to support, said charities needed money now more than ever. "I am pledging £1m to match donations made to a whole range of charities on the Big Give," he said. "The more you give, the more of my money your charity will receive."

A spokeswoman for the Big Give declined to give further details on the scheme before the end of today.

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