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What is Giving Tuesday and how to help

Emily Johnson Image copyright Anawim
Image caption Emily Johnson will be taking essentials to homeless women on the streets of Birmingham

#GivingTuesday is trending on social media - but what is it, where did it come from and how are people getting involved?

What is Giving Tuesday?

It follows the spending spree that is the long - and expensive - shopping weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

It has been organised in the UK by the Charities Aid Foundation since 2014 and encourages people to offer time, money or support to help a good cause.

"Giving Tuesday started in [the United States] on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving [and] is a movement to create an international day of charitable giving at the beginning of the Christmas season," says Angharad Thomas, from the charity.

"Christmas shopping is a great thing but if there's one day to think about doing something for charity, Giving Tuesday is it.

"If you have a little bit of money left, it's great to donate. But it's equally about doing something kind and talking or posting on social media about good causes."

How can you help?

Image caption Solomon Smith set up a soup kitchen which now offers CV workshops, job guidance and advice on housing and benefits

Giving Tuesday recognises any form of goodwill but one way is to spare some time.

Solomon Smith set up the Brixton Soup Kitchen in 2013 to help serve people in that part of south London.

On this day, much like all the others, the 33-year-old will be serving up hot bowls of food to about 80 people.

"Every day we get people saying 'why are you doing this and not getting paid?'" he says.

"But there's some type of feeling I get that feels so amazing when someone comes up to me on the street and they say: 'You have changed my life'."

Image copyright Paul Ramsden
Image caption Tina Ramsden took some time out of her schedule to lend a hand

Lending a hand doesn't need to take all day - even just an hour or two is welcomed.

Tina Ramsden took some time out of her schedule to join volunteers in preparing for a Christmas tree festival at St George's Church in Stockport.

The event will raise money for local charities, including Stockport Talking Newspaper which provides free news for visually impaired people.

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Dig about in your cupboards

Image copyright Getty Images

Toiletries, sanitary products, sleeping bags and warm clothes are all being gathered by volunteers at a women's centre in Birmingham.

The drop-in centre in Balsall Heath is run by the Anawim charity and supports more than 700 women a year struggling with homelessness, domestic violence and sexual exploitation.

"We see Giving Tuesday as the perfect opportunity to raise funds and community awareness for us to help support even more women and their children in distress," says fundraising officer, Emily Johnson.

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Donating to such causes is a great way to give something back, says Nicky Beet.

"I am on disability benefits [for fibromyalgia] which has given me a different perspective on poverty, so I will be donating at my local Co-op which collects food for local food banks," said the 37-year-old from West Bromwich.

"My wife and I often went without electricity or heating for weeks and only survived because of the help and love of family.

"I am also more aware that many don't have these informal support structures and suffer much more as a result."

Share your knowledge

Image copyright Getty Images

If you have a special skill that can help others why not show another person how to do it?

Millie Loxton will be teaching students at the University of Manchester emergency lifesaving skills during HeartStart CPR training sessions.

"Anyone could be a bystander to a first aid emergency and the more people who know what to do, the more likely people will be able to help," she says.

Can you spare some change?

Image copyright Border Terrier Welfare
Image caption Sammie and Pippin are the faces of Border Terrier Welfare

More than 2,600 charities and organisations are partnered up to Giving Tuesday to give help get money to good causes.

Some, like Border Terrier Welfare, are holding an auction to help re-home their furry friends and raise money to keep the charity going.

Others, such as Nathan Abbott, raise cash from taking part in sponsored events.

The long-distance swimmer was born with a severe bilateral cleft lip and palate and has raised £25,000 for charity Smile Train, which helps children with the same condition.

"A smile is the best way to spread happiness in the simplest of ways," says the 21-year-old from Littlehampton in West Sussex.

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