Radio 4 Christmas Appeal gets underway, supported by Sesui cloud communications

The BBC Radio 4 Christmas Appeal with St Martin-in-the-Fields launched on Sunday 3rd December to help thousands of homeless people or those in danger of losing their homes. Cloud communications provider Sesui is once again working behind the scenes to ensure every call gets through.

As the festive season gets underway, latest figures show that almost 1 in 200 people in the UK[1] are homeless or living in inadequate homes. Donations to the Appeal, now in its 91st year, are shared between The Connection at St Martin's and the Vicar's Relief Fund (VRF). The Connection, in London, helps people leave behind life on the streets through street outreach teams, a day and night centre and specialist services. The VRF offers a lifeline to help people into housing or to keep their home, right across the UK. In addition to shelter, last year's record-breaking £2.85 million helped to get specialist support to those who needed it most.

"You don't have to look very far to see homelessness. At the moment we'll spend almost £10,000 a day trying to get people off the streets and back home or into accommodation where they're warm and safe. But we can't do it on our own," said Mr Tim Bissett, Director of St-Martin-in-the-Fields.

Mr Bissett added: "For eight years Sesui has provided the magic behind the scenes making sure every call gets through. We're a small team, and on top of our many online and postal donations, we'll handle over 3,500 calls in just a number of days. The only possible way to manage all of this goodwill is through the cloud. Sesui's virtual contact centre allows us to take up our posts, wherever we need to – be that London, Cornwall or Scotland – in order to get those calls answered."

"The generosity of Radio 4's loyal listeners is incredibly heart warming," said Mr Lee Bryant, Managing Director of Sesui. "For so many people, the Appeal has become part of their Christmas tradition, which means every year we've got to be ready to handle even more calls. At various points the phones will be ringing with more than 100 people at once, all wanting to make a donation. We don't want to ever leave them waiting. You have to think that any call that's lost, is a lost donation, and we won't let that happen on our watch."

BBC Radio 4 will broadcast the Radio 4 Christmas Appeal made by the Revd Dr Sam Wells on Sunday 3 December at 7.55am and the Radio 4 Christmas Appeal: Making a Difference on Sunday 3 December at 9.45am. Supporters dialling 0800 082 82 84 (calls are free from landlines or mobiles), will this year hear from presenters including Radio 4's Kathy Clugston, Harriett Gilbert and Susan Calman, as well as Zoe Lyons, Miles Jupp and Hugh Dennis.

"When the phone number goes out on air and those phones start ringing, in addition to providing the contact centre technology, we'll be sitting right there beside Tim and his team of volunteers, answering those calls and hopefully helping to change some lives," Mr Bryant said.

Added notes

The Appeal will be open to donations from Sunday 3 December. Donations can be made by calling by post to the Freepost address Freepost St Martin's Christmas Appeal or online: https://www.smitfc.org/donate/

[1] Reported by Shetler, 8th November 2017 using FOI data

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