As the UK struggles to shrug off the continuing mantle of financial gloom, you could be forgiven for expecting that giving to charity will have suffered.
Not so, it would seem, according to some recent surveys in the run-up to Christmas. Sales of charity Christmas cards and ethical gifts are booming, while carol concerts and appeals all give more opportunities for people to show they care – and it seems to be working.
A perfect example of how the altruistic factor has not been crushed locally by the current economic crisis is the stunning success of the appeal to raise a million pounds to help build a dedicated palliative care unit at Borders General Hospital.
At the end of last week, local health charity, The Difference, announced that its target of raising a million to help fund the £4.1million Margaret Kerr Unit had been reached three months ahead of schedule.
It has clearly been an appeal that has touched the hearts of Borderers, with the long recognition that this region needed its own specialist palliative care facility.
It is a campaign TheSouthern has been extremely proud to have been associated with in its role as media sponsor.
Over the 16 months of the appeal, we have carried numerous reports and photographs of the myriad of fundraising events people from across the region have staged to raise cash.
There’s been everything from coffee mornings and abseils, to sponsored walks and raffles, with the result that Borderers have helped give an invaluable gift for the care of their less fortunate citizens.
And news of the appeal’s success could not have come at a more appropriate time of year, as Christmas is when people traditionally reflect most on their lives and of those who are less fortunate.
Those who have raised money for the new unit, be they the appeal’s organisers or those who have approached folk with sponsorship forms and rattled collecting tins, should give themselves a great, big collective pat on the back for their efforts.
You have all made a wonderful difference.