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Charity and goodwill – festive staples. When we spend time with family and friends, it is natural to think of those who may be lonely or less fortunate, and do something generous if we can. But this year, more than any other in this newspaper’s history, those thoughts weigh just a little heavier.

The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but with the season of giving upon us, consider the charities and community organisations that have struggled along during lockdowns, staff cuts, and competition for donations. For them, there is no let-off in demand. In fact, more people than ever before are relying on their services. The pressure must be unbearable.

If you haven’t already, pick a cause close to your heart and give them a little support, whether it’s money or time, or even a card to say season’s greetings and thank you. Perhaps it’ll be the local food bank, the Winter Night Shelter, St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney Quest, or one of the many, many others that keep our borough afloat – virus or not.

Think of those for whom Christmas time will be different this year, with loved ones lost or family members unable to travel. But think also of the thousands of lives saved and given hope by people with a never-ending festive spirit, and help them out if you can.

If you’re looking for inspiration, you can find an archive of Citizen stories involving local charities here

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The coronavirus outbreak meant that the Hackney Citizen was unable to print a monthly newspaper for three months.

We're grateful that we have since been able to resume printing. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our readers, whose donations kept the paper from disappearing completely at a distressing time for residents.

A huge thank you to everyone who gave their time and money to support us through the lockdown, and to those who continue to do so as we slowly recover from the dramatic fall in advertising revenues, on top of the existing challenges threatening the future of local journalism.

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Thank you for your support, and stay safe.

The Hackney Citizen team