Sir David yesterday announced that his charity would be operating its Christmas voucher gift scheme once again – and introducing a new Liberation Day one as well.
However, while he said he would distribute the same total amount of Co-op vouchers compared to previous years, he added that he intends to direct the gift to the elderly ‘in a more efficient manner’.
Previously, Sir David – who began the Christmas gift scheme in 2006 to mark his 70th birthday – would send £110 in vouchers to all Islanders aged 70 and over during November.
This year, the age threshold has been lowered to 65 but only those in receipt of certain benefits will be eligible. Meanwhile, the monetary value that will be given to each pensioner has been increased to two lots of £120 vouchers – which will be distributed at Christmas and for Liberation Day.
Sir David said that a further announcement outlining exactly who will be eligible would be released in October.
‘I was helping a lot of wealthy people and not really targetting the charitable monies necessarily in the right direction,’ Sir David said, explaining the reasons why he had changed the scheme.
‘Therefore with the assistance of Social Security my gift will now be targeted to those who really need it.’
Sir David, who received a knighthood in 2013 in recognition of his charitable donations, said that reducing the number of people who were eligible had enabled him to extend the scheme to give out the vouchers for Liberation Day.
He added that he hoped that Islanders who are no longer eligible for the scheme will understand that the original intention was always to assist those who were in need at Christmas.
‘To me it means an awful lot more than when I did it before,’ he said. ‘Lots of people wrote in and thanked me but when it is not targeted it makes no difference to some people’s Christmas. Some people will have the same Christmas if they didn’t get my £120.
‘I want it to be appreciated by those people who can have a little extra at Christmas that they would otherwise be denied.’