Hope is a click away for London families in need

 The Catholic Children's Society, Westminster, has just launched its 2003 on-line Christmas catalogue. In launching its on-line version, the Society is hoping to benefit by reaching a wider audience via the internet. All profits will go to disadvantaged children and families in London. Commenting on the on-line catalogue's launch, Patricia Hatton, the Society's Appeals Manager, said: "we are thrilled that the wide and attractive range of cards and gifts offered by our catalogue is now available to a potentially global udience. What's more important, however, is the opportunity of being able to offer more help and support to those who turn to us, not just at Christmas but throughout the year." The Society's Director, Jim Richards: "London's position as one of the world's leading financial and business centres masks the extent to which child and family poverty is an everyday reality for too many people. Official figures suggest that child poverty is as high as 53 per cent in inner London, while one of our family centres is located in a borough where 55 per cent of primary school children and 67 per cent of secondary school children receive free school meals; an indicator widely accepted as one of the most reliable measures of child poverty." He added: "at Christmas we celebrate Christ's birth, but we also remember the situation into which he was born: poverty, without shelter and then having to flee danger and oppression. We work all the year round to combat these evils, so I am delighted that our Christmas catalogue, through its on-line version, offers an added opportunity for us to continue and develop our work. For children and families in need, hope, and the prospects of a life consistent with the Christian ideal of human dignity, are now, potentially, a mouse click away." Buyers can make their selections on-line and pay for them on receipt via an invoice. Once orders are made, an e-mailed acknowledgement is sent and invoiced orders are then dispatched. There is also an opportunity to add a donation to an order, enabling the Society to do more on behalf of disadvantaged children and families. Buyers who are UK taxpayers can make their donations go further by ticking the "Gift Aid" option. The on-line Christmas catalogue can be accessed via a link on the home page of the Society's website at: www.cathchild.org.uk

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