Why we do what we do written by Alanna Wilson Our Citizens Advice Gateshead Elves have been working hard to provide both quality advice and some wonderful raffle prizes this month. However, it's easy to forget our reasons for launching our DIG DEEP Advent Raffle campaign amongst the Christmas cheer and fundraising excitement. I’ve worked for CAG for two years and in the time I’ve been here as the Community Fundraiser and our advisers have helped on average 25,000 people in Gateshead. What does this number mean? How does this actually affect our clients? As Christmas draws ever closer, whether we’ve still got shopping left to do or not, many of us will be engaging in the age-old tradition of spending time with loved ones. But for many out there, Christmas isn’t necessarily a happy time and the stresses of the season often heighten ongoing situations, such as debt, housing issues or sorting out benefits. Imagine facing Christmas with these problems whilst one of your family members is also suffering from a long-term illness such as dementia or cancer. This is a real situation for many of our clients and that is why we need to continue to expand our advice services. Since July, we have been fundraising through DIG DEEP, a campaign that has been specifically set up to help clients facing health related issues like dementia and cancer. Over the course of the year our staff, volunteers, friends and family have worked tremendously hard to raise money in so many ways: hiking across The Yorkshire Peaks, cycling along Hadrian’s Wall and sleeping rough for the night in Gateshead. We have been aiming to raise £50,000 to grant access to our social welfare advice which will help more than 200 families in our community, advice which we our clients can’t praise enough: This is the reason we’ve been running our DIG DEEP Advent Raffle as the final push to our 2018 fundraising efforts, to help make sure all families facing serious pressures can get the specialist support they need! You can still DIG DEEP before the year is over ! 1) Make a difference with a donation here 2) When you shop this Christmas use Easyfundraising and we’ll receive donations every time you shop. Thanks for all your support this year and have a Merry Christmas.