Hartlepool shopping centre’s Christmas appeal aims to help families affected by domestic abuse

Natalie Griffiths, Lynn Boreland and Kate Lodge from Hartlepool Refuge with Middleton Grange centre manager Mark Rycraft.
Natalie Griffiths, Lynn Boreland and Kate Lodge from Hartlepool Refuge with Middleton Grange centre manager Mark Rycraft.

Shopping centre bosses in Hartlepool are calling on people to be generous and support their annual charity appeal.

Middleton Grange is once again teaming up with domestic violence charity Harbour to launch its annual Christmas campaign, the Giving Tree.

And bosses are calling upon generous Hartlepool shoppers to donate presents to local children.

Last year saw a staggering 1,274 gifts donated to the campaign, now in its 12th year.

As usual, the Giving Tree will be decked out with special tags, each one specifying details of a child’s age and gender.

Customers are invited to take one and purchase a present for a local child.

Mark Rycraft, manager at Middleton Grange, said: “Every year our shoppers prove to be incredibly generous and thanks to their kindness so many young people in the area are able to enjoy Christmas.

"We are really hoping that we can beat last year’s total and we’re encouraging as many people as possible to help us achieve this.”

To get involved all people have to do is select a tag from the tree, buy a gift, and take it to the Bonnie Babies store and Catcote Metro.

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

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 offer open access, 24-hour cover and a range of 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, which effects everyone 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 on the upper level adjacent to Iceland and Bonnie Babies store at Middleton Grange.

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