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Merry Christmas from the DBA

Warmest wishes to all our members and industry friends for a happy and restful Christmas and a prosperous New Year. 

Charities are having a tough time this year, so in place of our normal Secret Santa gift swapping, we decided to donate the money we’d normally spend to a charity of our choice instead. Here’s who we chose, and why…

4Adam: we have sponsored a teenager, called Ishiatu, through a school in Sierra Leone. She is currently sitting the equivalent of A-levels. Betterdayz is a small charity run by a friend I went to school with. After a holiday in Sierra Leone with his wife they decided to support a local orphanage charity. When the charity went bust they stepped in and took it over. An inspirational couple making a real difference to the lives of a small group of young adults with hard lives. 

9Amy: ending homelessness is not just about putting a roof over someone’s head, it’s about rebuilding someone’s life. St Mungo’s have developed an inclusive, recovery-based approach that takes a person’s unique skills and strengths and places them at the heart of their own journey. 2020 has been a tough year for everyone, but none more so than the already vulnerable people living on the street, and St Mungo’s have helped almost 3,000 homeless people to isolate safely during the pandemic.

The charity is brilliant at keeping you in the loop with the work they do, so you have no doubt that you are contributing to something that really makes a difference. 

3Deborah: we have a British Heart Foundation book shop on Streatham High Road that I LOVE! In fact it’s my favourite shop on our high road. And at least once a week, I’ll find a reason to drop in and scan through the second-hand books for a gem or two – they change constantly. Yesterday I bought a book on knitted tea cosies (whoever gave them that name was a genius), a concertina folding book which you spy through from one end to reveal a diorama of The Mall dressed for the Coronation (blown away by this find), a garden crafts for kids book, a book on London’s five Royal Palaces and a Quentin Blake book on how to look at artworks for kids, but I’m going to keep it! And so because I value this shop so much, and it’s all in aid of the British Heart Foundation, I gave them my Secret Santa money on top of the book money.

7Hannah: I’ve donated to the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man’s Brothers Trust. A fantastic initiative from Tom Holland and his brothers to support small and local charities which struggle to be heard. Charities like Momentum Children’s Charity, who are there every step of the way supporting families in SW London when a child is diagnosed with cancer. With fundraising opportunities reduced by the pandemic, small charities have been hit hard, but the personal touch and support they bring to families is more vital than ever. That’s why I’m donating to the Brothers Trust, so they can fly the flag for these charities.  

8Natasha: I choose the North London Hospice for all the amazing care they gave my aunt who passed away at the end of last year. The nurses, doctors and volunteers were so attentive and caring and the hospice really was a home from home for the whole family.


6Ramiro: in university, for class we went to an inner-city school in Philadelphia, PA to help children with their reading skills. The majority of the kids came from Spanish-speaking families which helped me identify with them even further due to my being bilingual. I really enjoyed helping the kids and watching their reading get better. You can really see their imagination take over their expressions when they delve into the worlds they find in books and even better when they identify their own interests and search for topics in books, which is why I choose to donate my Secret Sant money to BookTrust.

My own children now are bookworms and we have a varied children’s library at home.

5Sally: within the first two weeks of lockdown in March, there was a 41% increase in users visiting the Women’s Aid Live Chat site which can be discreetly accessed by women without risking being heard by a perpetrator. Each chat between a survivor and Women’s Aid expert support worker costs roughly £5, so my Secret Santa this year will help continue this vital support. 

I was lucky to be part of two fundraising campaigns back in April through my choir London City Voices, where we raised a grand total of £108,167 to help this service stay open through this tough year. You can see our fundraising video and donate here:


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