CHS Group launches festive appeal to ensure everyone has a gift to open this Christmas

chs group Christmas gifts inside cambs

CHS Group has launched its 2020 Christmas Shoe Box Appeal to ensure all the residents in its supported housing services will have a gift to open this Christmas.

CHS Group is a charitable housing association and social enterprise that supports vulnerable young people, aged 16-24, in four housing services across Cambridge, Ely and Wisbech. CHS Group also manages three services in Cambridge that support women with mental health needs, young parents and their children, and people with learning disabilities and autism; all of whom are vulnerable.

Through the Shoe Box Appeal, CHS is encouraging the community to donate shoeboxes, filled with presents, alongside festive cards with special messages to the residents. Suggested items include toiletries, clothing, food, stationery or even gift cards for supermarkets or coffee shops. The appeal, however, specifically asks that donated shoeboxes do not include any alcohol, tobacco or cash.

Shoebox donations can be dropped off between 16 November and 17 December at a number of different drop-off locations, including CHS Group’s head office in Histon, or at any other of its services in Cambridge, Ely, or Wisbech. In the current climate of COVID-19, CHS Group has taken steps in line with government regulations to mitigate the chances of social contact and infection and is therefore asking that donations to its head office in Histon are only dropped off between the times of 09.00 – 12.00 on Mondays and Thursdays. Donations to the other locations can be made between 9am – 5pm any weekday. Staff members at services will wear the necessary personal protective equipment and each donated shoebox will be put into isolation for at least 72 hours before it is distributed to residents.

For those members of the community who are unable or do not feel comfortable creating a shoebox themselves, but still want to get involved with the appeal, a JustGiving page has been set up so that they can make a donation and staff members at CHS Group can assemble boxes on their behalf.

Nigel Howlett, CHS Group’s Chief Executive, comments: “For many of us, Christmas is a time of great happiness, filled with presents and time spent with friends and family. But, during the festive period – this year more than ever – as a community, we need to come together to support those who do not have these luxuries. This is where our Shoe Box Appeal is here to help – many of our residents arrive at our services with few possessions, often with financial complications and with their own set of challenging personal circumstances.

“Last year it was so heartwarming to see what these donations meant to our residents and how it made them feel like valued members of the community; for some the shoebox was the only present they received. So, from everyone at CHS Group, I would like to say a huge thank you to the wider Cambridgeshire community who have pulled together to support our residents in our previous appeals and, more recently, during lockdown. In this most unusual of years, it is truly inspiring to see the community rallying together to support those in need.”

To donate to the Shoebox Appeal via the JustGiving page, visit: To find out more about CHS Group’s Shoe Box Appeal, including what to donate and where, please visit:

Inside Cambridge | Cambridge Magazine