Love in a Box is back... but this time it's digital! - YMCA DownsLink Group

Love in a Box is back… but this time it’s digital!

Photo by Liz Finlayson/Vervate
YMCA Christmas Love in a Box shoot October 2020 -For more info contact: Ruth Cobb
Head of Marketing & CommunicationsT 01273 222583
M 07957 254 582

Our annual Christmas fundraiser is back.  Love in a Box started in Brighton & Hove ten years ago and was an instant hit with our residents who loved having a present to open on Christmas Day and feel the love and care of their local community at the same time.  This year, however,  rather than filling shoeboxes with gifts, we’re asking people to buy ‘virtual gifts’ and donate online, via our Love in a Box campaign page, so that our Key Workers can buy personalised presents for the young people they look after.

There are two main reasons for the change. Firstly, Covid-19 has meant that it’s been logistically difficult to receive and distribute physical boxes in a safe way. Secondly, our Key Workers in YMCA DownsLink Group’s 24-hour supported accommodation, get to know the young people who live with them really well, in some cases they’re more like a surrogate family. So buying a virtual gift means they can buy something thoughtful and personal that really lets the young person know that they are cared for.  It could be something to help them pursue a passion or hobby, or something they desperately need; a decent coat, warm jumper, or new trainers.

Bill, a young man living in our 24-hour supported accommodation, explains what an incredible difference our Key Workers make to him:

“My favourite thing about living at the YMCA is feeling safe and protected. The staff have had a big impact on me, and I’ve had really good support from them. They have been patient and accepting of me and my “luggage” (which is a lot less now 😊)”.

Leaha, a young woman living with us, had a passion for football and wanted to play in an international tournament. Thanks to generous donations, she was bought a pair of football boots and fulfilled her dream.

Anyone can buy a virtual gift or donate via  You can also buy a gift on behalf of someone else, so it’s a great option for a Secret Santa gift, which is notoriously difficult to get right (and probably end up in a landfill). It’s also possible to specify which area within Sussex and Surrey you would like your money to go to so that you can rest assured that you are really helping a vulnerable young person living close to you.

To find out more click here


YMCA enables people to develop their full potential in mind, body and spirit. Inspired by and faithful to our Christian values, we create supportive, inclusive and energising communities, where young people can truly belong, contribute and thrive.

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