CHARITIES are in need of cash now more than ever. Tough economic times and the need for councils to tighten their belts means there is less money being given away for help.

And the impact of this is not just on the organisations – it affects the many vulnerable people that they support.

So the announcement that the Gannett Foundation has revealed where its latest annual giveaway will go to could not be more timely.

Those that will benefit are all richly deserving of help.

They all work in groups which would not exist were it not for the dedication of volunteers.

The state is there to help us all when we are in serious need – whether it be through the NHS or the welfare system.

But inevitably it cannot do everything and this means that many deserving causes survive only by charitable donations.

Today, we look in detail at those groups that have been awarded money – Oxtalk, Children In Touch, and Helen and Douglas House Hospice.

They say the sums will help pay for equipment or offer a better service to those who need help.

It is a moving thought – especially as Christmas awaits. These groups – and many others like them – rely on grants and other financial support.

The Gannett Foundation has done its bit.

Yet the constant need for cash means none of us can rest easy.

Times are tough, and charities need constant support. That is something we should all bear in mind as we open our presents on Christmas morning.