'Marks & Shelter' activation aims to highlight plight of homelessness at Christmas

Retailer Marks & Spencer and Shelter are staging an activation aimed at encouraging people to think about homeless families during the Christmas season.

'Marks & Shelter' activation aims to highlight plight of homelessness at Christmas

The activation is also marking the retailer's partnership with the charity. For the last 12 years M&S has made it a tradition to support Shelter by donating 5% of each sale of its Festive Collection to the charity. Last year the money raised funded Shelter's helpline over the whole Christmas season.

With the "Marks & Shelter" activation, commuters at Waterloo can get a free taste of the M&S Festive Collection for Shelter today and also try out a virtual reality experience, all set in a bright red Christmas-themed dining room.

Viewers of the VR can immerse themselves in three different traditional Christmases. All are in real homes showing people talking about how they'll spend their Christmas. The first two are happy stories of excited children, with lots of presents and families gathered together. The third is a homeless family all crammed into one room in a hostel, presenting a stark contrast to the first two stories, with no room to hide presents, no room for a Christmas tree, to highlight the fact that all they really want for Christmas is a home.

The charity has also created a stand at the Ideal Home Show, which opened yesterday and runs until 26 November at Olympia London. Visitors to Shelter's stand are being asked to vote on where they traditionally spend Christmas by taking a bauble from one of three tubes. Visitors are encouraged to help a homeless family and make giving to Shelter their new Christmas tradition by either a contactless donation on the stand, or a text-to-donate number attached to their free bauble.

Both campaigns were created by Shelter's in-house team.