Hartlepool shoppers urged to give the gift of Christmas in festive plea

Joanne Horner of Harbour (left) and Suzanne Chaney, Middleton Grange Retail Executive pose in front of the centre's Christmas Giving Tree.
Joanne Horner of Harbour (left) and Suzanne Chaney, Middleton Grange Retail Executive pose in front of the centre's Christmas Giving Tree.
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Shoppers in Hartlepool can give the gift of Christmas and help out a child in need this festive season.

After last year’s incredible success of Middleton Grange’s Giving Tree initiative, with members of the public donating a staggering 3,000 Christmas presents, the centre has once again launched the campaign.

Now in its 11th year, the centre’s Giving Tree will see special tags being hung from the Christmas Tree, for kind-hearted customers to take and purchase a present for a local child.

Mark Rycraft, centre manager, said: “Last year proved a phenomenal success and demonstrated just how wonderfully generous the Hartlepool community is.

“We are really hoping that we can beat 3,000 and we’re encouraging as many people as possible to help us achieve this.”

Customers are once again invited to take a tag from the tree that has specific details of a child’s age and gender before choosing a gift for them.

“People just select a tag, buy the gift and take it to the Bonnie Babies store and Catcote Metro,” added Mark.

“They will then be collected by Harbour and distributed to children whose families are currently receiving help from the charity.

“It really does make such a difference to these youngsters’ Christmas and takes no time at all for someone to pick up a little something to donate.”

Joanne Horner, of Harbour, said: “The response we received last year blew us away.

“We were so touched by the number of presents we received and we are absolutely delighted to be teaming up with Middleton Grange again this year and continue to be the beneficiary of this wonderful campaign.”

Harbour offers 56 units of refuge accommodation across the North East to women and children who are leaving an abusive relationship.

The refuges have open access, 24-hour cover and support and guidance services for women and children.

There is also support available in the community to those who need help and advice about how to keep themselves and their children safe.

Joanne added: “The children and young people we work with have been affected by domestic abuse in their home.

“Domestic abuse affects each child or young person differently.

“When they first come to us they’re often frightened, confused and vulnerable.

“We listen to them and acknowledge what they have been through then help them to move on from it.

“Christmas is such a special time for most people but if you are going through a difficult time, which our clients are, it can be the opposite.

“The Giving Tree means children who might not otherwise get a present this year will, which is really special and we are very grateful to everyone who donates a gift.”

The Giving Tree can be found in York Place on the Upper Mall at Middleton Grange.

Gifts can be left with the Bonnie Babies store or Catcote Metro every day until Christmas Eve.