ITV's Text Santa charity appeal launched today

Today is the launch of Text Santa, the Christmas charity appeal to raise funds, and make a difference to the quality of life for vulnerable people living in our communities.

Six charities have been chosen to benefit from this year's donations. They are Age UK, Barnardos, Clic Sargent, Beat Bullying, British Heart Foundation and Help for Hospices.

The charities in the 2013 appeal Credit: ITV News

Every penny we raise is divided between the charities, to provide practical support for people living in difficult circumstances.

The fund raising finale is on ITV on Friday 20th December, and will be presented by Ant and Dec, Phillip Schofield, Holly Willoughby, Christine Bleakley and Paddy McGuinness. They will be joined by the cast of Coronation Street and Emmerdale, and a host of 'mystery' guests.

People are encouraged to wear a hat to work that day and donate a pound for "Hattitude Day".