Papers hopeful for Christmas appeals

UK newspapers strive to beat last year's fundraising efforts in spite of economic downturn

International development and anti-poverty organisations, children's and disability charities are among the main causes benefitting from Christmas appeals in newspapers this year.

The Times is supporting national children's charity Action for Children , Pump Aid and Thrive, which uses gardening to benefit disabled people.

Rosemary Bennett, social affairs correspondent at The Times, said it wanted to offer readers a choice. "We need to represent a good mix because they want charities that inspire and educate them," she said.

"A large proportion seem to donate to international development," she added.

Corporate sponsors have also pledged match funding for the newspaper's appeals. A total of £125,000 has been raised so far. Bennett said she hoped to beat the £600,000 raised last year, despite the recession. "I'm amazed at the response from our readers considering so many will have already been affected," she said.

Mary's Meals, which provides free school meals for poor children around the world, ex-services mental welfare charity Combat Stress and Arthritis Care will benefit from The Daily Telegraph's Christmas appeal. So far about £200,000 has been raised.

The Independent is supporting VSO, One World Action and Action on Disability and Development. Giles Mayer, head of fundraising and partnerships at VSO, said it was too early to give figures but the response had been slower than usual.

The Guardian and The Observer are continuing their appeal to help the Ugandan village of Katine for the second year. The appeal supports a three-year development project run by Amref and Farm-Africa in partnership with Barclays.

Launched in October 2007, the Katine project has so far raised more than £615,649. A source at The Guardian said although it appeared that responses were slower than last year and donations were down, the average amount was higher than last year.

The Financial Times
, which is supporting WaterAid, also commented that although it was too early to make accurtae predictions, initial overall response had been a bit slow. It hopes to beat last year's total of about £250,000.

Wellchild, which helps sick children, is being supported by The Daily Mirror, and The Daily Mail is supporting the Alzheimer's Society. London's Evening Standard raised more than £206,000 for youth charity Greenhouse at its annual Christmas auction.

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