Kind-hearted residents, businesses and organisations have once again come together to ensure some of the borough’s most disadvantaged families can enjoy their Christmas by donating thousands of items and pounds to St Helens Borough Council’s annual gift appeal.
Launched in 2010 for children aged from birth to 21 years – including care leavers – at risk of waking up on Christmas Day without a present, the appeal has seen tens of thousands of items, such as toys, books, clothes and food, donated during that time – with this year’s alone resulting in more than 600 gift sacks being put together, each one containing at least half a dozen items tailored to the recipients’ hobbies and interests.
As well as physical gift donations, a number of food hampers have been funded through the council’s HAF programme in conjunction with KIND children’s charity – and around £6,500 in cash was donated to go towards the purchase of items for children, young people and care leavers, with generous contributions coming from Brendon International, Torus, NGF Europe, Bold Skips, Ventrix, Communications Plus, Bookers, Nijman/Zeetank, Knauf Insulation and Chain Lane Community Centre.
Among the many businesses to donate toys and clothes included Satis Education, based in St Helens Chamber, and Huyton Asphalt Ltd – a local contractor overseeing the installation of a CYCLOPS junction in Lea Green as part of our St Helens Southern Gateway project.
Following the sudden death of former St Helens Borough Council Chief Executive, Carole Hudson, in November 2019 – the gift appeal is now associated with Carole’s name as a legacy of her work with children and young people.
A team of volunteers have now put this year’s contributions into bundles and hampers, ready to be distributed in time for Christmas Day – with St Helens Borough Council Leader, David Baines, and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Nova Charlton, among those to help out.
“The generosity of our borough never ceases to amaze me,” Councillor Charlton said.
“St Helens residents, businesses and organisations are renowned for coming together to support those less fortunate during difficult times and you’ve only got to look around here at what we’ve managed to amass for this year’s gift appeal to see that level of commitment still stands at a time when most of us are feeling the pinch during a cost-of-living crisis.
“A special thanks to gift appeal organiser, Tracy Sexton, who does a marvellous job year after year; to all the volunteers who give up their time to ensure all the donations are packed and ready to go out on time – and of course to everyone who has contributed to the appeal in the true spirit of our St Helens Together ethos which encompasses our approach of delivering help and support where it is most needed in the borough.”
If you or someone you know needs support over the Christmas period, visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/sthelenstogether