If you are a new listener who has just found us or if your back here because you like our podcasts, welcome and get ready to listen and learn your way into understanding English, learning a language using the Adept English method is just easier. So today we talk all about Christmas cards while we learn our everyday English vocabulary.
We started the custom of giving Christmas cards in the UK in a long time ago, in 1843. Sir Henry Cole sent the first Christmas card. Sir Henry was a government worker who had helped build what is now the UK Post Office. To help promote the Post Office and get people to use it he sent a Christmas card and hoped others would do the same.
Today Christmas cards are big business with some 1 billion cards sent every year.
No one has ever become poor by giving.
⭐ Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank: the play
So even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, the chances are you will sending or receiving a Christmas card if you live in the UK. Today we walk you through how you can support UK charities, organisations which support good causes while you join in the card sending British.
Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. Learning Language can be difficult and it can take a long time, if you use traditional learning methods. But if you use the Adept English listen and learn method, where you focus on listening and improving your understanding first, then learning English speaking is much easier and you’ll be learning English grammar automatically, as you go along. Learn English online with Adept English.
Something which comes to people’s minds at Christmas – and this is not about the religious, the Christian part of Christmas – people think of charities and they possibly make donations. ‘Charities’, C-H-A-R-I-T-I-E-S they’re organisations that aren’t there to make a profit, they’re not businesses making money. They are organisations which raise money for ‘good causes’, for people in situations which need money, need help. So some examples of charities, or charitable organisations, which operate overseas, outside of Great Britain are The Red Cross, Oxfam and Save the Children. And an example of a French-founded charity is Médecins Sans Frontières – or as it now gets called ‘Doctors Without Borders’.
So the plural of this word is charities, with an -ies on the end and the singular, when you’re speaking of one charitable organisation is ‘a charity’, with a y at the end - C-H-A-R-I-T-Y. And if you talk about ‘charity’ without saying ‘a charity’, you make it one of those ‘uncountable nouns’, like water, ‘charity’ then means the concept, the idea of helping other people, without any direct benefit to yourself, just because it’s a good thing to do.
It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.
⭐ Mother Theresa
So one of the things that happens at Christmas, people tend to make a donation – that means give money to a particular charity – or they might buy Charity Christmas cards. So if you buy charity Christmas cards, the name of the charity is printed on the back of the card, and some of the money that you’ve paid for the Christmas cards, goes to the charity. Usually, it’s not that that much money that goes from the sale of Christmas cards to the charity, but it still raises the profile of the charity, it raises peoples’ awareness of that charity, if people look on the back of your Christmas card and see ‘Oxfam’ or ‘Save the Children’, so it’s a good thing.
Just pausing there a minute in this podcast to remind you of our Course One, Activate your Listening. So if you really like our podcasts, but you need more help and more practice understanding English, learning language which is spoken, then Activate your Listening will really help you. It’s a listen and learn course, obviously ‘cause it’s from Adept English which gives you recordings which are rather like podcasts, but each one is followed by what I call a ‘vocabulary explanation’. So these ‘vocabulary explanation’ recordings mean I go through all the words I’ve used, step by step – all in English, of course – and I explain the meaning so that enables you to understand and remember much more English this way.
It means you can listen to the first recording again (maybe you don’t understand much, to start with) – but after you’ve heard the explanation, you don’t need a dictionary but you understand much more. So it takes you away from translation, and it gives you the pleasure of being able to listen to spoken English and understand it! It’s much better for your fluency. It helps you learn English the natural way. So Course One, Activate Your Listening also has English conversation – so that can practice understanding other people speaking English as well as me!
So back to charities. There are a lot of British charities and charities which are based in the UK are known all across the world. So I’ve mentioned several of the charities which do really good work in countries where people need help, sometimes humanitarian aid – so again OXFAM, The British Red Cross, Save The Children, those kinds of organisations. ‘Humanitarian Aid’ means help or assistance for people who’re in a really bad situation. They may be injured, ill, they’ve suffered through natural disasters or war and they have no food or water or health support. So charities work round the world, helping people in these situations to stay alive, until the government of the country moves to start sorting the problem out. ‘Humanitarian’ means ‘supporting the wellbeing of human beings’.
In the UK, we have lots of domestic charities too. ‘Domestic’ means ‘at home’. Charitable organisations, which look after the welfare of certain groups or look after particular concerns. These are names of organisations which everyone in the UK knows. So here are some of the best known charities.
There are charities to do with health and wellbeing. So ones like Cancer Research, the British Heart Foundation or Great Ormond Street. So Cancer Research raises money to help research the causes and treatments for cancer, C-A-N-C-E-R which is an illness which sometimes kills people – and which people all over the world get. The British Heart Foundation – does the same sort of work, raising money for research into illness and conditions of the heart. Your heart, H-E-A-R-T is the organ in your body which makes your blood go round and your heart goes b..dm, b...dm, b...dm.
Most high streets in towns in the UK have charity shops for Cancer Research or the British Heart Foundation. And you take in your unwanted items, things you’ve finished with, things you don’t want any more, clothes, household items, books, games and you donate them, you give them to the charity. And then the charity shop sells them to make money. It’s really good for recycling. Great Ormond Street is a leading children’s hospital in London – leading research into illness and conditions, especially complex children’s health conditions.
We also have a lot of animal charities in the UK. The RSPCA is probably the best known. That’s the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and it’s one of our most popular charities. ‘Prevention’ means ‘stopping something’ and ‘cruelty’ means hurting animals, treating them badly. So the RSPCA do a lot of work with animal welfare – checking that people are looking after their animals properly and prosecuting them through court if people don’t do this. You can go to prison for badly treating an animal.
A photograph some cats who have been rescued sitting in a window with a sign asking for help, used to help explain the RSPCA mentioned in todays English Lesson.
The RSPCA also rescues animals and has animal shelters for animals to live in, while they seek a new home. The WWF – or the Worldwide Fund for Nature is another famous animal charity – which again raises money to support the health and welfare of animals all over the world. The WWF isn’t specifically British though. It was founded by conservationists from a number of different countries.
In the UK, we also have the RSPB – the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - that’s another animal charity.
Two more British charities, which are well known and which people may remember at Christmas. The first is Mind, MIND, which is a British charity which raises money and looks after people with mental health problems. It offers advice and support for people who are struggling with depression and other conditions. And the second one is Shelter. This is an organisation for people who are homeless. Although the UK has a strong economy, it’s a well-off, a rich country in the world, there are still people who are homeless, who live on the streets. It’s cold here too, so usually they have a lot of health problems and it’s really horrible living on the streets, especially in the winter.
So Shelter is one of the charities which is concerned with supporting and helping homeless people, people who don’t have a home, are homeless. And if you’re really motivated to help at Christmas, you can donate, give money to help homeless people. But you can also offer your help, and go and serve Christmas dinner, or sit and talk to homeless people at Christmas, if you want to do something good.
There are so many other charities I could list like the National Trust, the Alzheimers Society, the Samaritans, Help for Heroes, the RNLI, all of which do different kinds of good, important work – and which ensure that the interests that they represent are made known to politicians in parliament as well.
So that’s a very quick look at Britains Charity sector, some of the well-known organisations and what they do - to help you practice your understanding of English. Learning language is more enjoyable with Adept Englsh – and you get to listen to something real, authentic. I speak to you like I would to a friend! This also helps you learn English speaking and improve your spoken English. Learning languages is easier, if you do it the natural way, understanding first.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.