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New Salvos research finds more people struggling this Christmas

14 December 2021

83% of Australia’s hardest hit struggling to afford Christmas presents for their children, with 10.5 million Aussies (40.7%) feeling more stressed about their finances this year.

After two years of COVID-19 upheaval, more Australians than ever are feeling financial and emotional pressure this Christmas, with 10.5 million people (40.7%) more stressed about their finances compared to last year and 7.6 million (29.4%) feeling lonelier this year, making The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal more important than ever, aiming to raise $20 million.

Whilst 13.8% of Aussies are worried about being able to afford enough food to eat and 20.6% are worried about paying their utilities, this rises to a disturbing 71% and 57% respectively, amongst those who have accessed the Salvos’ Doorways Emergency Relief services.

Research undertaken by The Salvation Army1 shows even more concerning feedback from those who have sought support through the Salvos’ Doorways Emergency Relief Services:

  • 83% of households with children are worried that they cannot afford presents for their children
  • 56% are worried about not being able to afford a special Christmas Day meal
  • 51% are worried and stressed about their mental health
  • 36% feel lonely and isolated
  • 44% did not feel important to others

Sadly, 53% of those who have needed to turn to The Salvos for help, report they are not looking forward to Christmas, compared with 10.3% of the general population.

Research of the general public undertaken by Pureprofile2 for The Salvation Army also reveals:

  • 8.9 million Australians (34.3%) are feeling more stressed this Christmas than last year
  • 8 million Australians (31.1%) are feeling concerned about how they will pay for Christmas this year
  • 9 million Australians (34.7%) feel pressure to spend more than they can afford at Christmas
  • 6.4 million Australians (24.7%) are worried and stressed about their mental health

“The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased the percentage of Australians feeling huge pressure about their finances and their emotional wellbeing, with ever-increasing numbers turning to the Salvos for emergency food, support to pay their bills, as well as seeking our help to cope with their stress, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness,” says Major Bruce Harmer, The Salvation Army’s National Public Relations Secretary.

“We know that Christmas time, and its additional financial and emotion burdens, always intensifies these issues for people, but the extended period of managing the pandemic over the last two years, lockdowns and the related economic fallout, has been devasting for even more Australians. As always, the Salvos are here to lend a hand to anyone in need.”

“We don’t want anyone to struggle in silence this Christmas and want to stress that there is no shame in reaching out for support. And to those in a better position, we’re calling on your generosity now more than ever and seek your urgent support for our Christmas Appeal, so we can help as many people as possible,” says Major Harmer.

The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal is aiming to raise $20 million this year to ensure that they can continue their vital work across the country, supporting Aussies in need during the festive season. The Salvos cannot continue their important work without the generosity of the Australian public.

Typically, The Salvos at Christmas will:3

  • Distribute more than 64,000 hampers and vouchers to those struggling to make ends meet at Christmas time
  • Give out hundreds of thousands of gifts and toys to families in need of a hand, to ensure that no child has to go without a present under the tree on Christmas Day
  • Provide more than 130,000 meals across the country during the Christmas period
  • Provide more than 66,000 beds for those in need of accommodation during the festive season

“Christmas is the busiest time of the year for The Salvos. This is on top of our work year-round in areas such as homelessness, family and domestic violence, youth work, natural disaster support and emergency financial relief,” says Major Harmer.

“Our 2020 survey of the general population showed that 76% of Australians were looking forward to Christmas. The fact that this has dropped to 68% this year is telling and reflects the huge ongoing challenges being faced by all Australians right now.

“So we encourage everyone to focus on what really matters at Christmas - the values of peace, joy and hope. And to those in a position to do so, we urgently call on your generosity.”

The Salvation Army Christmas Appeal aims to raise $20 million to support those in need.

To leave no one in need this Christmas, please donate to The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal here or call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58).

1. The Salvation Army’s (TSA) Christmas 2021 poll research aims to understand general sentiment, worries, and circumstances of people who have accessed TSA’s Doorways Emergency Relief (ER) services for the upcoming Christmas season. A total of 1164 individuals completed the poll.
2. A Pureprofile survey for The Salvation Army surveyed 2000 people in a nationally representative sample size, and this has been extrapolated to reflect the general Australian population.
3.The Salvation Army Research and Outcomes Measurement Team (PRSJ) 2021


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