1. ITV Report

ITV's Text Santa charity appeal launched today

Text Santa is launched today Photo: ITV News Central

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 the Hospices.

The charities in the 2013 appeal Credit: ITV News Central

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".

At ITV Central we will be looking at the work our chosen charities do in our region, but first, we take a look at how the money was spent in 2013.

"Together for Short Lives" is a charity that supports children's hospices throughout the UK. Parents who have a child with a life limiting illness face particular hardships, not least the knowledge that their child will die before them.

At Rainbows children's hospice in Loughborough, they aim to make every child feel special, and help parents to create long lasting memories of the times they have together.

It is not just about coping with the physical demands of their conditions, it is also about offering emotional support when times are tough.

Karianne Rostill is a nurse at Rainbows.

Rainbows is the only children's hospice in the East Midlands, and relies solely on public donations to keep it going. For mum, Melissa Jones, it is a lifeline. Both her children, Toby and Jessica, have a life limiting condition.

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