While most people’s thoughts turn to family celebrations and presents under the tree, spare a thought for almost 200,000 people who are expected to work this Christmas Day.
Emergency services and midwives remain on call, ready to handle holiday emergencies whilst food banks and convenience store owners spend time ensuring everyone has access to essentials over the holiday season.
In fact, according to latest figures released by the TUC, in 2010 almost 172,000 employees were in work on Christmas Day, compared to just over 96,000 in 2004. NHS and social workers make up the largest group, with over 74,000 people working on 25th December.
While we’ve seen an increase of people working over Christmas, it seems 2014 has also been the year for giving with Visa predicting over £1,800 will be donated every minute in December alone, topping a record £1 billion pledged to charity in 2014 (vs £920m donated in 2013.) To date (in 2014) Visa Europe have seen donations up around 13% year-on-year.
Visa wanted to say ‘thank you’ to some of the hard working people who will be giving up their Christmas to ensure access to essential goods and services as well as hot meals for the less fortunate and surprised a bunch of midwives, street cleaners, baggage handlers and food bank volunteers with some special gifts.
Among them was 82 year old Brenda Meadows who has been volunteering for 65 years and working every Christmas at North Paddington Food Bank for the past 30 years. She said: “I don’t have any family left in the UK so the community is my family now. To me it’s important to give because you are making other people happy.” To reward Brenda for a lifetime of giving, Visa have contributed to the food bank as well as giving her holiday vouchers which will allow her to visit her family in Australia for the first time in 15 years.
Nick Jones, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Visa Europe, said: “Our Christmas video is intended to help recognise and thank those who will be working to help others over the festive period.
“Supporting good causes and our local community is something that’s important to us as an organisation, and this “Christmas thank you” represents just one small part of our wider Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and volunteering programme.
“In 2014 our 1800 employees selected Save the Children as our chosen charity for employee fundraising, and we are proud to be able to support their work and help make a positive difference to vulnerable children all over the world.”