Alternative Christmas Gifting: MK Charities

The impact of the pandemic has hit every sector, but perhaps the most considerable impact is on our charity sector. The majority of Charities saw a loss of income during the pandemic, and a third said they experienced a shortage of volunteers. Fortunately many survived but cancelled fundraising events, lack of funding and of course general tightening of purse strings along with increased demand from those in need of support means that charities are still in need of your support.

In this guide, you will discover some amazing local charities that do essential work within the community and find out how you can support them this Christmas.

This guide is part of Sophie etc.’s Independent Milton Keynes Christmas Gift Guide 2022. Businesses have paid to feature in the guides, but the guide has been entirely curated by Sophie. We hope it inspires you to shop small this Christmas! Every effort has been taken to ensure the information in this blog post is correct. Please refer directly to vendor websites and social media pages for the most up-to-date information for Christmas delivery and products. If you do see an error, please email

Alternative Christmas Gift Ideas from MK Charities

  1. Camphill MK Communities
  2. Emily’s Star
  3. The Henry Allen Trust
  4. Toybox
  5. YMCA

Camphill MK Communities

Camphill Milton Keynes Communities (CMKC) is a community for adults with learning disabilities and autism. They are a supported living provider, and the service is built around community living. The residents take part in a wide range of workshops, including a ceramics studio, weavery and the very popular vegetarian cafe and Bakery. The Chrysalis Theatre, onsite, is a fully functioning theatre which welcomes various shows throughout the year and is used by community groups all year round, as well as it being the focal point for community get-togethers and meetings.

Camphill’s vegetarian cafe is open to the public – Monday to Friday 10am,-4pm. They aim to maximise the use of garden produce and bakery products within the Café menu. It is well worth a visit for a hot drink, and seasonal treats. after those shopping trips. A festive menu will also be available.

Bookings advised. There is also a selection of handmade gift ideas available to purchase in our shop. Most of these items are made by our residents in our workshops. Gift vouchers for the cafe are available.

Visit Camphill Communities’ Website.

Follow Camphill MK Communities on Facebook | Follow @camphillmk on Instagram.

Emily’s Star

Emily’s Star is a Children’s charity based in Westcroft. They have supported premature babies and children with complex needs for over 10 years in memory of Emily. Their Santa Letters make a great gift for Children whilst supporting a worthy cause. Every letter is individually written and personalised for each child. Each letter is also sent with: A certificate of the nice list, a recipe, two craft sheets, a magic key and Santa’s Sleigh license. The letterers are beautifully packaged in board envelopes with a wax seal.

The letters are priced at £7 each, £12 for two or £16 for three, if ordering more than one the letters will be sent in the same envelope which will be addressed to all children. If you would like each child’s letter to be sent in their own individual envelope, please order the £7 option multiple times.

Letters will be posted using second-class stamps in early December due to the ongoing postal strikes. The final posting date will be Friday 9th, Letters will be removed from the website on Thursday 8th unless sold out beforehand.

Visit Emily’s Star website to order your Santa letter.

Follow Emily’s Star on Facebook | Follow Emily’s Star on Instagram @emilysstar220212

Santa Letter from Emily’s Star.

The Henry Allen Trust

The Henry Allen Trust was founded in memory of Henry Allen who lost his battle to Stage 4 MYCN Amplified High Rish Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer, in October 2013. They are on a mission to bring happiness to children and families battling childhood cancer. Dawn, Mark and everyone involved within the trust has worked tirelessly to ensure no family is alone during their journey.

The Henry Allen Trust is there for children and families from initial contact, all the way through the rest of their journey, be it treatment, remission or palliative end-of-life care and beyond. The Trust do this by providing treats and wishes, financial assistance and emotional support to the families as well as holding a monthly THAT Support group where families come together to enjoy quality time with each other and share their experiences. The Henry Allen Trust also work with hospitals providing care packs, toys, arts and crafts, ward visits and even specialised equipment.

Every year The Henry Allen Trust hold various events to FUNdraise vital funds to allow the trust to continue its work supporting children, teens, young adults and their families battling childhood cancer. For the eighth year running, The Henry Allen Trust is running its Christmas Stocking Appeal. You can help them by buying from their Amazon Wish List.

Every Christmas, Team Henry visit hospitals and families delivering stockings and gifts to children, teens, young adults and their families battling childhood cancer. This would NOT be possible without the generosity of our amazing supporters.

Buy from The Henry Allen Trust’s Amazon Wishlist.

Follow The Henry Allen Trust on Facebook | Follow @thehenryallentrust on Instagram

For more information about The Henry Allen Trust visit their website.

Toybox Charity

Toybox is a small charity, based in Bletchley, Milton Keynes, working to change the lives of street children in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Alongside local partners, they work to change the world for children for whom the street represents their home, or their livelihoods, as well as those who are vulnerable and at high-risk of becoming street-dependent. Toybox started its work in Guatemala City in 1992 and is still there today, working with children who have been plunged into the chaos of living or working on the streets. They believe no child should have to live on the streets and strive for a world in which every child can access their basic human rights and live a happy, fulfilled life.

Toybox is delighted to be chosen as a charity partner by the wonderful Advent of Change once again this year. A great gift for a friend, or for yourself in the countdown to Christmas, these eco-friendly and cause-driven products give a donation to each of the charities featured in the products. These products are incredibly special, what better way to countdown to Christmas than opening a door with a fantastic gift to charity each day?

The Advent of Change collection offers a sustainable alternative at Christmas, from the items themselves to the packaging, not only do these products give back, but they fully support a more sustainable Christmas. As a social enterprise, Advent of Change passes on as much of the sale price as possible to charity.

Each of the products is available on the Advent of Change website, from John Lewis and Waitrose in-store and via their online sites, where you can find out all about them and the full range on offer. You can find Toybox behind one of the doors of their Premium Advent Calendar and as one of the charities on their Christmas bauble. Donations will support Toybox to provide warm hats and socks to children on the streets.

Find out more.

Visit the Advent of Change website or buy via John Lewis & Partners.

Follow @toyboxcharity on Instagram | Follow Toybox on Facebook.


You are already familiar with YMCA MK’s SoupFest recipe book which aims to raise money for their invaluable work. This gift idea will be of interest to those who aren’t so much of a fan of food, but a fan of beautiful vistas! The 2023 ‘Inspiration Calendar’ comprises of sunrises mainly around the Milton Keynes areas. £5 from every calendar sold will go to the YMCA Milton Keynes to assist with supporting young, disadvantaged adults to find their role in life and thrive.

The calendar is created by Olyi Ltd., a built environment consultancy business specialising in helping to build sustainable environmentally focused and inclusive communities.

Buy your Inspiration Calendar on Olyi’s website.

About MK Charities 

MK Charities was founded at the beginning of the pandemic after realising just how many charities are going to need support from our community. They are here to connect the dots and create opportunities for charities in Milton Keynes to raise their online presence. For more information go to

I hope this Christmas Gift Guide has inspired you to shop small this Christmas. If you do decide to support these charities please let them know who sent you their way and share your purchases with my Facebook Community Group, Eat & Explore MK. You can also share your local finds on Instagram with the hashtag #EatandExploreMiltonKeynes.

Which charities will you support this Christmas?

Explore the other gift guides:

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