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Last Christmas we gave: charity and change

At the start of 2018, we're looking back over the end of 2017's festivities. Every Christmas, Dukes employees work together to raise additional funds for a festive charity. It's hard to imagine the plight of so many children going without, so our staff provided 25 boxes of toys and essentials to children in third world countries as part of Operation Christmas Child. But although I’m very proud of their generosity, I firmly believe that this period is about more than one-off gestures.

Time to reflect

While we pride ourselves on the charity fundraising we do for Douglas Macmillan Hospice throughout the year, the festive period is an excellent opportunity to take time out and think about how we can change things for the better. As well as donating to good causes and sending cards to valued clients and customers, I think it’s important to consider how we can offer a helping hand more directly.  

The cost of Christmas adds up for all of us – and the sad truth is that many families end up stuck in debt simply because they wanted to treat their loved ones. The latest Disposable Income Index (DII) found that almost 60% of households make sacrifices to buy presents and 31% of those with children rely on credit to cover their costs.

Offering support

Over the festive period, especially following extra spending over Christmas, we take extra care in ensuring that we don’t add pressure onto overstretched families. We make every effort to ensure they don’t feel like their presents could be taken into control, and we stop sending debt collection letters completely during the Christmas period. Everyone needs a break from the stress of stretched budgets.

More than that though, we believe that we have to accept our share of the burden when people genuinely can’t escape their debts. Our dedicated hardship fund is used specifically to source our fees when we do need to write off small amounts of debt in circumstances like these.  

Long-term change

The biggest challenge, however, is ensuring that this approach doesn’t end abruptly this new year. That’s why we're continuing our pause of letters, to take into consideration the ever-increasing cost of last Christmas.  

Our experience is that debtors try especially hard to get back on track if they’re given a break. This means that the cost of making that extra effort will be dwarfed by the benefits of avoiding debt spirals and setting up affordable payment plans – and everybody profits from this thoughtfulness and charity.

Many thanks for viewing my post; I hope you found it useful. If you have any private questions on this topic, you can connect with me on LinkedIn and send me a message, or else you'll find my contact details on my LinkedIn profile.

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