Greenbank  Parish  Church



An Open Hand



Click the image to see a video introduction to
An Open Hand

An Open Hand is a partnership between Edinburgh City Mission and Greenbank Parish Church. It aims to provide parents in severe hardship with a present for their child’s birthday, along with books and items for the family to play with together, such as simple games and stationery.

We hope to give more children the opportunity to celebrate their birthdays by reducing the financial burden it places on their families. The present given to each child will be specific to that child’s interests and tastes so that they receive a gift that they will really cherish and enjoy.

Referral agencies across Edinburgh can apply to An Open Hand on behalf of families who are eligible. They will be able to indicate specific toys the child would wish for. This will then be delivered, with the other birthday items, to the family’s home, or the family can collect it from Greenbank Parish Church if they prefer.

How can you help?

It would be wonderful to have your support in backing this project to help as many families as we can in our city.

If you are able to help in any way we, and the families we support, would be so grateful. There are two ways to donate:

'My birthday – your present' (donation by Standing Order)

We are setting up a giving scheme called ‘My birthday – your present’, and asking if you might set up an annual standing order with An Open Hand. Your donation would leave your account once a year on your birthday, meaning that whilst you are celebrating your own birthday, you are also enabling a child in Edinburgh to celebrate their birthday – a double celebration!

To set this up, go onto your online banking page and follow the instructions for setting up a standing order.

The bank details for An Open Hand are:

  Account Name: An Open Hand - Greenbank Church
  Account Number: 21846864
  Sort Code: 80-22-60

Your reference should be your full name.

If you do not have online banking you can print out and complete our standing order form [pdf] and take it into your bank. Alternatively, the form can also be collected in church.

Please let us know if you have set up a standing order, by emailing

Single Donation Online

We would also be very grateful for single donations. Please click here to donate online.

An Open Hand Voucher – a unique and inspirational gift

One way of supporting An Open Hand is to buy one of our Vouchers.  This could be sent to a friend, perhaps as a Christmas gift, or retained by you.

To acquire a Voucher, first make a one-off payment to An Open Hand, either using our bank details or by paying online (as above); the amount you choose is up to you.
For guidance, note that we currently use £35 as a guideline figure for each child’s birthday present.

Then email stating that you wish to have a voucher. Please use ‘Voucher’ in the Subject line, and give the following information in your email:

  • Your name
  • The amount you have donated
  • The name and postal address where you wish the Voucher to be sent (it could be to yourself).

Why is there a need for An Open Hand?

The Edinburgh Poverty Commission reported (September 2020) that there were an estimated 77,600 people living in poverty in Edinburgh, including almost one in five of all children. Levels of child poverty in Edinburgh and Scotland have risen by more than 25% in the past five years.

Being in poverty can mean being unable to pay for everyday costs, including essentials for your children. Buying presents often creates stress and financial difficulties for families – or is simply not possible, meaning children go without a birthday present.

Why is it important to celebrate a child’s birthday?

When a child sees their family celebrating their birthday, they feel special and significant within their family. It is a time that families can show how much they love and care for one another. Celebrating as a family creates positive memories and helps strengthen family bonds. From a parent’s perspective it is a day to make your child feel unique and loved.

Birthdays are much more than just receiving a gift. They are a time to celebrate a family’s love for their child. However, presents are now a recognised part of a birthday, especially for children, and are something every parent likes to provide for their child. If a family is unable to afford a gift, it can affect how the parent and child feel about the birthday. Some families in hardship try to avoid mentioning their child’s birthday altogether to avoid the negative feeling associated with not being able to provide a gift. The lack of gift, therefore, denies the family the whole celebration and the chance to build those special and happy memories together.

An Open Hand is here to provide parents with presents for their children, so that the door can be opened to celebrating with their children.

We feel this service is going to make a significant and positive difference to many families in Edinburgh, who face the strain of hardship each day, especially in this pandemic.




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