Donated gifts make Christmas better for families in sanctuary

Staff from Fylde Coast Women's Aid with some of the Christmas bgifts donated to women suffering domestic violence
Staff from Fylde Coast Women's Aid with some of the Christmas bgifts donated to women suffering domestic violence

Two hundred women and their children have had a better Christmas - thanks to the generosity of the community.

Victims of domestic violence who have sought sanctuary and safety in one of three refuges on the Fylde Coast received gifts for themselves and toys for their children as part of a campaign to make a bleak time a little brighter for them.

Linda Stackhouse, a Fleetwood PCSO, has been collecting gifts as part of the Wish Tree Appeal.

She said: “There has been an overwhelming response to the appeal. It is one of the best years I have had in the 18 years of collecting donations.”

Individuals and local organisations chipped in and quilters from Larkholme Community Centre made gifts for the mums and children.

All the donations, which also came from other collections across the Fylde Coast have now been distrubuted.

Tina Hibbard, service manager for Fylde Coast Women’s Aid said: “The gifts have been given out and any remaining will be given to local families in the community who are, or have been, exposed to domestic abuse.

“We prioritise the need, maybe for those who are struggling financially or having problems with benefits. It’s a carefully planned exercise.

“Donations are mainly toys for girls and boys of all ages but there are gifts for women and food donations which obviously helps, too.

“We make sure single women aren’t excluded and they will recieve a small gift, too.

“We try to reach as many people as possible and they often feel relieved and overwhelmed.

“I was talking to one of our workers who was with one particular lady the other day.

“She asked her if she was ready for Christmas and she looked as though she would burst into tears.

“The worker told her not to worry and she would be helped with some gifts and it was the relief she felt that there was help for her.

“For people suffering from domestic violence, their priority is keeping safe. Christmas is just an extra burden but they don’t want to let their children down. Donating gifts is just about trying to make Christmas happen.”

Local donations came from Skipton Building Society, Ideal Dental Care, Poundstretcher, Halifax Building Society, One Stop Shop. Fleetwood High School and Foggies Cafe also helped.