Volunteers at Nottingham Shoebox Appeal 2023 (Image: via author)

The Nottingham Christmas Shoebox Appeal has received over 1400 donated boxes in 2023 – the highest number since it began in 2021.

UK Households will have £3 billion less to spend this Christmas, according to a survey by Retail Economics and Auctane, but that hasn’t stopped Nottingham residents from donating “more than ever before”.

The appeal is run by SEWA Day, a non-profit charity ran by volunteers. In addition to the Christmas appeal, the charity also runs bi-weekly food banks in Rushcliffe for those in need.

Hetvi Parekh runs the Nottingham SEWA Day branch and is also Councillor for Edwalton.  She said, “There is a lot of organisation that goes on behind the scenes.  We have a team of around 70 volunteers who have been working since around October.

“We have had 1406 boxes donated this year – the most ever!

“As people have come toy know more about what we do, every year by word of mouth demand has increased.  We have a lot of charities approach us, and sadly this year we’ve had to say no to a couple of them as we just don’t have the capacity.”

Donations ready to be packaged (Image: via author)

There has been much criticism around Christmas becoming a ‘selfish holiday’, many of the belief that the season of giving has become forgotten in recent years.

M&S’ iconic annual Christmas advert was criticised in 2023 for its insensitivity towards the Israel Hamas Conflict, as a scene from the video showed Christmas hats resembling the colours of the Palestinian flag burnt on a fire.  The scene has since been removed from the promotion.  The ad was also bashed for highlighting that Christmas should be a selfish celebration.

Despite suggestions that the UK is not as giving as it once was, Nottingham’s generosity was clearly proven through this year’s appeal.

“I wasn’t anticipating everybody to be so generous as I think everybody with the cost of living has been feeling the crunch this year – it’s just been amazing!”

– Amy Fairclough, Volunteer

Ran and organised at Edwalton Church Hall, thousands of items were donated to the appeal this weekend including: non-perishable food items, toiletries, books, toys and clothes.

Donated books (Image: via author)

The boxes are donated by individuals, businesses, community groups and schools from in and around Nottingham.  They are then organised into age and gender categories, packaged by volunteers, before SEWA Day finally delivers them to those in need – just in time for Christmas.

​Jessica Brennan, CEO of local charity POW, says there’s many ways to help those in need by buying items off the charity’s Amazon wishlist, donating to local food banks and providing warm clothing (like hats, gloves and scarfs) to those without shelter in the winter months.

There were several charities involved in 2023’s shoebox appeal, helping:

  • Homeless people
  • Young carers
  • Care leavers
  • Sex workers
  • Survivors of domestic abuse
  • Teenagers in need
  • Asylum seekers
  • Refugees

Although shoeboxes have now been collected and distributed for 2023, the appeal’s Just Giving page is still open for monetary donations.