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Christmas appeal 2020

Did your town or city make the list of the UK's most generous in 2020? Find out who tops the list for the highest number of givers, this Christmas. 

This Christmas, we'd like to say a huge thank you to the generous people from across the UK who have helped us to change the world with women and girls this year. 

To celebrate, we've crunched the numbers to find out the 10 town or cities with the highest numbers of donors to ActionAid*. Find out if yours made the list!

10. In tenth place... Sheffield!


Sheffield came tenth on our list for the highest number of givers, but of those who donated to charity, Sheffield residents gave an incredible £151.54 on average. Thank you!

9. In ninth place... Oxford!


Thank you so much to the people of Oxford! You came ninth on our list for the highest number of givers, but with an amazing average donation of £468.62, your generosity and kindness is outstanding. 

8. In eighth place... Guildford!


Charity givers in Guildford gave an average of £140.42, and came eighth in our list of the highest number of donors. Thank you, Guildford!

7. In seventh place... Reading!


Of Reading's charity givers, the average amount given was a remarkable £302.44. Thank you for helping us to change the world with women and girls!

6. In sixth place... Glasgow!


Generous Glaswegians came sixth in our list of the highest number of givers, and of those who donated, they gave an incredible £112.43 on average! 

5. In fifth place... Brighton!  


£128.51 was donated on average by Brightonians. Thank you, Brighton, for your generous contributions to our work around the world! 

4. In fourth place... Birmingham!


Next in our list of generous cities is Birmingham, which had the fourth-highest number of donors, and an amazing average gift of £127.44. Thank you to the people of Birmingham!

3. In third place... Edinburgh!


An amazing £148.92 was the average amount given by those who donated in Edinburgh, and the city had the third-highest number of givers. We are so grateful, Edinburgh!

2. In second place... Belfast!


Congratulations to the generous people of Belfast! Belfast took the second-place spot for the highest number of charity givers. On average the people of Belfast donated £139.91 - thank you!

1. And the winner is... Bristol!


Finally, an enormous thank you goes out to the people of Bristol, who topped this year's list with the highest total number of donors. Generous Bristolians gave an average £112.33.

We are so grateful for your support!

A huge thank you for your generosity

We are so grateful to everyone who's generously supported our work during this incredibly challenging year. 

But there is so much more to do. The impact of the Covid-19 has been felt by all of us, but for too many, it has exposed a hidden pandemic: of escalating violence against women.  

Many women around the world are facing a dangerous Christmas this year, as domestic violence rates soar during lockdown. 

If you sign up to give just £7 a month you could help us to keep the doors of a women's shelter open, giving a woman a safe route of escape when she needs it most. 

Donate to our Christmas appeal

*All ActionAid figures from January-October 2020, excluding London.

If you’ve left it to the last minute, don’t panic! Our top 10 last-minute Christmas gifts are a thoughtful and meaningful way to show how much you care. 

Last-minute Christmas shopping - it happens to the best of us. Whether it's your mum, your great uncle or even your best friend, there's always a gift or two that seem to fall through the cracks!

Luckily, our Gifts in Action collection offers up a smorgasbord of festive treats to suit every budget. And, from our ever-popular period kit to our education gifts, you'll know your gift is helping to change the lives of women and girls living in poverty.

Choose a print-at-home card for your ultra-last-minute gift or, for guaranteed Christmas delivery of a paper card, simply order by midday on Friday 18 December. No-one will ever know it was left to the last minute (we won't tell)!

Period kit

1. Give a period kit (£12)

For just £12, our period kit gift can provide menstrual products, clean underwear and soap for a woman or girl who needs them. Say no to period poverty, this Christmas! 

Buy a period kit


2. Give a shelter kit (£14)

This gift could make a huge difference to a family in the wake of an emergency, by providing them with the materials they need to create a safe place to sleep while they rebuild their lives. 

Buy a shelter kit

School uniform

3. Give a school uniform (£10)

With this gift, you could help ensure a child doesn't miss out on receiving an education simply because they don't have the right clothes. 

Buy a school uniform gift


4. Give a beehive gift (£35)

By providing a farmer in Kenya with a beehive, you can support the nesting of honeybees while helping a woman and her family achieve financial security. Hive-five! 

Buy a beehive gift


5. Give a piglet gift (£26)

Piglets aren't just adorable. They also support families to grow crops, providing long-term food security, because the older they get, the more manure they produce.  

Buy a piglet gift


6. Give a goat (£30)

It's a classic for a reason! Our goatally fantastic goat gift can help improve the quality of soil for farming families, which can change their lives for good.  

Buy a goat gift

Breeding pair of goats

7. Give a breeding pair of goats (£60)

Two is better than one! Gift a breeding pair of goats and you could support a family long into the future. Goats can provide milk for a family, and their offspring can be sold on, providing a steady stream of income. 

Buy a breeding pair of goats


8. Give a blankets gift (£14)

When emergencies and disasters strike, our blanket gift can provide four blankets for a family in need. Help more families stay warm when the worst happens. 

Buy a blankets gift


9. Give a school backpack (£10)

For just £10, our school backpack gift can help a child to go to school, and get the education they deserve. This budget-friendly gift really can change a child's life! 

Buy a school backpack gift

Quarantine kit

10. Give a quarantine kit (£14)

As coronavirus continues to spread around the world, this gift can provide life-saving essentials to help a family stay safe, including hand sanitiser, antiseptic soap, a digital thermometer, paracetamol and face masks.

Buy a quarantine kit

Find more last-minute gifts

Still looking for the perfect gift? From our life-saving water gift to our school materials bundles, there's lots more to discover in our full gift collection.

From all of us at ActionAid, we'd like to say a huge thank you for your support. Wishing you a wonderful festive period, and a happy new year!

Whether it’s a stocking filler, a secret Santa or classic goat gift for a loved one, our collection of charity Christmas gifts has something for everyone - from as little as £10!

Looking for Christmas gift ideas that say something special, this year? 

After a year like no other, it’s more important than ever to show just how much we care. So explore our collection of thoughtful gift ideas from as little as £10.

When you choose your Gift in Action, you can personalise your greetings card with a special message and we'll post it to the address of your choice.

Your gift recipient will also receive details about how they're making a difference to the lives of women and girls living in poverty around the world. What better way to get into the Christmas spirit?

1. Baa, humbug! Give a classic goat gift (£30)

christmas goat gift

It’s a classic for a reason! For just £30, this gift could help provide a goat for a family in Burundi

Thanks to the high-quality manure goats provide, your gift can help a farmer to grow vital crops. 

So you can help a family to gain food security, and put a *huge* smile on the face of your friend or family member at Christmas. What’s not to love?

Buy a goat gift

2. A great gift - period. Give a period kit gift (£12)

period kit christmas gift

Nobody should be held back because of their period. But in emergency situations, women and girls are often forced to improvise when managing their periods, which can be dangerous.

That's why our period kit gift can provide essential supplies like sanitary pads, clean underwear and soap for a woman or girl in need.  

At just £12, this gift is the perfect choice for the feminist in your life!

Buy a period kit

3. Bring Christmas home with our shelter kit gift (£14)

shelter christmas gift

In emergency situations, families are often left without a home, or the materials they need for temporary shelter. 

That's why our shelter kit gift can provide a family with essentials like tarpaulins, so they can have a safe place to stay while they rebuild their lives. 

At just £14, you can make a huge difference with this simple gift. 

Buy a shelter kit

4. All we want for Christmas is school! Give a school uniform gift (£10)

school uniform christmas gift

When children get the education they deserve, their whole lives can change! 

So make a huge difference to a child's future with our school uniform gift, which can help a child continue going to school following a disaster or emergency. That's a gift with bells on.

Buy a school uniform gift

5. ‘Water way’ to say Merry Christmas! Give the gift of water (£25)

water christmas gift

In an emergency, having access to a clean, safe water supply makes all the difference.

So for just £25, this classic water gift is the perfect way to give back (while you're giving!) 

It could supply a family with 75 litres of water to drink, cook or clean with. Water you waiting for? 

Buy a water gift

Stand with Women

Stand with women this christmas

Still haven't found the gift you were looking for? Whoever you're shopping for, we're sure you'll find the perfect present in our full collection of gifts

And remember - every purchase goes towards ActionAid's life-changing work with women and girls around the world.

This Christmas, we're celebrating the incredible women who are building a new world in the wake of Covid-19. 

A world in which no woman lives in fear of violence. A world in which everyone has access to healthcare. A world of greater economic opportunity for all. We're standing with them. Will you Stand with Women?

As we come closer to Christmas and think about the gifts we want to get our loved ones, let's take a moment to consider what women around the world have on their wishlist this year. 


It’s safe to say that coronavirus has changed many things this year, and this Christmas has been no different.

Christmas for some of us means looking forward to presents, warmth, and safety of our homes but for some women around the world, this can be a daunting time. It can be an occasion fraught with the tensions that Christmas sometimes brings with the added stress of the pandemic this year.  

Women and girls have been fighting a double emergency in 2020, as the coronavirus crisis has exposed a hidden pandemic: of escalating violence against women.

But with the support of ActionAid, women are coming together to fight for a safe and equal world, where no woman has to live in fear of violence.

By starting your monthly gift today, you can help women on the frontline of this crisis turn the tide against violence this Christmas, and many more to come.

1. What a gift of £10 a month for a year could provide

Just a £10 a month for a year could train a counsellor to provide psychosocial support to survivors of violence. Training a counsellor has a lasting impact. These women directly understand the problems in their community and pave the way with solutions that can transform lives. 

Ritah was 21-years-old and pregnant with twins when her husband became violent, and then later abandoned her. After a difficult pregnancy, she eventually lost one of her twins.

ActionAid supported Ritah with her hospital fees and provided her with grief and trauma counselling

Ritah is now on the road to recovery and supporting herself. ActionAid helped provide her with financial aid as well as training so that she could set up her own business - a market stall.

"I don't know what I would have done without the support from Action Aid... I don't know if I would be living the way I am living right now."

Donate £10

2. What a gift of £7 a month for a year could provide

Florence is the Executive Director of the ActionAid-supported Tusitukirewamu Women’s Network in Kampala.

£7 a month for a year could fund a woman's shelter, providing safe and comforting temporary accommodation for survivors. 

Florence, a survivor of violence herself, now leads the Tusitukirewamu Women's Network in Kampala, Uganda.

The ActionAid-funded network has been working to end violence against women in Uganda, and support survivors. Florence supports women in her community by tirelessly working every day even during the pandemic.

ActionAid also runs ten shelters for survivors of violence across the country. The shelters provide women and girls with a safe bed for the night, food, sanitary protection and access to medical and legal services. Some shelters also provide livelihood training so women can become economically independent.

Florence knows that her work is now more critical than ever during the Covid-19 crisis. "We've had so many cases of gender-based violence that I've even had to take some women into my home," she said.

Donate £7

3. What a gift of £3 a month for a year could provide

Hameria is being supported by ActionAid and, inspired by Florence’s work, she is now working to help empower young girls in her community.

Just £3 a month for a year could provide meals for a fortnight for a girl who has escaped abuse. 

20-year-old Hameria fled from domestic abuse when she was just a child.  At nine years of age, she met Florence, from theTusitukirewamu Women's Network in Kampala. 

Florence immediately took Hameria under her wing.

“Florence is my mother, mentor, teacher, everything,” said Hameria, who is still being supported by ActionAid.

Inspired by Florence’s work, Hameria is now empowering other young girls in her community.

“I wish for every woman and girl in Uganda to be treated well, to live in good conditions,” she said. “Because I know how it feels to be treated like a no one.” 

Donate £3

How you can help

With support from ActionAid, women like Florence have been at the forefront of the Covid-19 response in many of the world’s poorest countries.

This Christmas, we must stand with women to support those who have survived domestic violence and those that are helping them get back on their feet.

Your gift of just £3 a month could help fund a women’s group to build a better world beyond coronavirus. Please donate now.

Give a gift to stand with women

Lee Webster

International Development Policy and Practice

Christmas can be a stressful occasion as it is, but with the coronavirus pandemic, it could be a doubly fraught holiday. Find out how women and girls are at risk of increased domestic violence this time of the year. 

Amongst my loved ones and the people I regularly talk to, there is a near-universal desire for 2020 to be over. We’re so done with this year.

As we move through December, many of us look forward to mince pies, presents, and crucially some rest and respite from the difficulties that this unforgiving year has thrown our way.

I hope that we all have a merry, joyful, and restorative festive season. And yet, I know that for some of us, that’s just not a possibility.

So as much as I’d like to switch off and forget everything for a while, I know that’s a luxury that comes with privilege and freedom. So I’m asking you to stop for a few minutes, and re-commit, along with us at ActionAid, to play our part in ending violence against women and girls.

Let’s face it, some folk love Christmas, and some find it stressful at the best of times.

Lockdowns - a dangerous life sentence for women

For women in violent relationships, navigating this festive period will go way beyond deciding what gifts to give or how to celebrate with family. It will be navigating a route through tempers, taunts and violence, in the hope of coming out the other side.

Yet as demand surged, services were being cut or closed, leaving women trapped."

Statistics tell us that one in three women experience violence in our lifetimes. That’s a third of us.

Most of the violence is at the hands of a male partner or relative, someone we know and someone we perhaps love or have loved. Often, it’s someone we depend on, for financial and other support.

This year, as Covid restrictions continue across the world, ‘lockdown’ can be a life sentence.

In England, we know that two women a week are killed by a partner or ex-partner. Across the world, that figure stands at a staggering 187 murders of women every day.

UN research1 shows that calls to helplines for women experiencing violence have never been higher, increasing five-fold in some instances.

ActionAid’s own monitoring of the situation for women across the world has seen an alarming rise in cases and request for support. 

  • In Bangladesh, there has been a tenfold increase in sexual and domestic violence, this April to May, compared to the same period last year.
  • In Gaza, we saw a 700% increase in demand for counselling this April-May, than in 2019.
  • In Brazil, there was a 22% average increase in femicide across 12 states compared to last year, according to data from security agencies. 
  • In Nigeria, one women’s shelter reported a 700% increase in cases of violence since lockdown and ActionAid Nigeria called the increase in violence an emergency in itself.

Yet as demand surged, services were being cut or closed, leaving women trapped or forced to return to dangerous households.

Christmas during the coronavirus pandemic 

The causes of violence against women and girls are well known: unequal power relations between women and men. Violence is a tool used to threaten, oppress and control women and our bodies, in a world designed and run for men.

Christmas comes at the end of a very stressful year for many – this plus the added restriction on freedom of movement, can both heighten the risk of violence."

Christmas in itself does not cause violence, but it can create the perfect storm of factors that can enable it and put women and girls at risk. This includes financial pressures, increased alcohol consumption, and increased family arguments.

This year Christmas comes at the end of a very stressful year for many – this plus the added restriction on freedom of movement, can both heighten the risk of violence, and prevent women and girls from leaving for a place of safety.

How does ActionAid tackle domestic violence?

ActionAid is committed to an end to violence against women and girls.

Our programmes around the world seek to prevent and respond to violence, and create the conditions for gender equality (a precondition for an end to violence) to thrive.

 For women experiencing violence, and the women supporting them to safety, this time of year can be dangerous and relentless."

A key part of our approach is to work with the true experts - the women and girls who directly understand the problem, who are trusted by and know other women and girls in a way that others do not. These are women who are paving the way with solutions that transform lives.

In Uganda, Florence is one such expert and leads an organisation called the Tusitukirewamu Women’s Network. She joined the network when she was 18, having experienced violence in her home, and now says “Violence against women should stop with me”.

Her determination has led to a programme with seven staff and a network of 35 volunteers, who have close connections in local communities and provide support and referrals to women experiencing violence, as well as training to improve livelihoods for survivors rebuilding their lives.

This support to women survivors is crucial, but we know that violence will only end when it is prevented from happening in the first place. Tusitukirewamu also works on the root causes of violence – Florence’s team do preventative outreach work, increasing awareness of women’s rights, and running trainings with men to grow a network of male champions they call ‘model men’, who work with other men to stop violence.

Florence’s work doesn’t stop for Christmas.

In fact for women experiencing violence, and the women supporting them to safety, this time of year can be dangerous and relentless.

This year I’m standing with women around the world who are working to end violence. Will you stand with women too? Just £3 a month for a year could provide meals for a fortnight for someone who has escaped abuse. For those of you who have already donated or pledged your support - thank you for all that you do. 

Coronavirus pandemic: a domestic violence support guide

If you are experiencing violence it is not your fault, and you are not responsible for stopping the violence - only the perpetrator can do that.

There is however support available to you, and there are small actions you can take to increase your safety. Read our guide for steps that might be helpful in developing your own safety plan.

Please also contact support organisations in your community, and/or the emergency services where needed or call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

How you can help

With support from ActionAid, women like Florence have been at the forefront of the Covid-19 response in many of the world’s poorest countries.

This Christmas, we must stand with women to support those who have survived domestic violence and those that are helping them get back on their feet.

Your gift of just £7 a month could help fund a women’s shelter providing safe, temporary accommodation for survivors or violence.  Please donate now.

Give a gift to stand with women

  • 1. https://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2020/07/a-75-274-sg-report-ending-violence-against-women-and-girls