BBC Radio 4 launches annual Christmas appeal to help the homeless
BBC Radio 4 and St Martin-in-the-Fields have launched their annual Christmas appeal to help people who are homeless or in danger of becoming so.
Funds raised by the Christmas appeal will be shared between The Connection at St Martin’s and the Vicar’s Relief Fund (VRF). The Connection helps people in London through street outreach teams, a day and night centre and specialist services while the VRF helps people into housing or to keep their home across the UK.
This is the 91st year St Martin-in-the-Fields and BBC Radio 4 have run their Christmas appeal, with last year’s raising a record-breaking £2.85 million. BBC Radio 4 broadcast the Radio 4 Christmas Appeal made by the Revd Dr Sam Wells on Sunday 3 December at 7.55am and the Radio 4 Christmas Appeal: Making a Difference on Sunday 3 December at 9.45am. Supporters dialling 0800 082 82 84 (calls are free from landlines or mobiles), will this year hear from presenters including Radio 4’s Kathy Clugston, Harriett Gilbert and Susan Calman, as well as Zoe Lyons, Miles Jupp and Hugh Dennis, and donations can also be made online or by freepost.
The appeal is again using cloud communications provider Sesui to help ensure calls get through.
Tim Bissett, Director of St-Martin-in-the-Fields, said:
“At the moment we’ll spend almost £10,000 a day trying to get people off the streets and back home or into accommodation where they’re warm and safe. But we can’t do it on our own. “For eight years Sesui has provided the magic behind the scenes making sure every call gets through. We’re a small team, and on top of our many online and postal donations, we’ll handle over 3,500 calls in just a number of days. The only possible way to manage all of this goodwill is through the cloud. Sesui’s virtual contact centre allows us to take up our posts, wherever we need to – be that London, Cornwall or Scotland – in order to get those calls answered.”
Lee Bryant, Managing Director of Sesui, added:
“For so many people, the Appeal has become part of their Christmas tradition, which means every year we’ve got to be ready to handle even more calls.
“At various points the phones will be ringing with more than 100 people at once, all wanting to make a donation. We don’t want to ever leave them waiting. You have to think that any call that’s lost, is a lost donation, and we won’t let that happen on our watch.”