Hartlepool led Christmas gift appeal tops 1,000 pledges within days amid 'colossal' need

A Christmas gift appeal that went viral last year is shaping up for another extremely busy year after more than 1,000 presents were pledged within days of its launch.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 4:45 am

Middleton Grange’s online Giving Tree saw more than 170,000 gifts donated by people from all over the country and distributed among charities last year after going online for the first time due to lockdown restrictions.

There have already been over 30,000 applications for support this year already.

And since the website went live just days ago, generous secret Santas have already promised to buy more than 1,300 gifts for the appeal.

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Middleton Grange Shopping Centre's operations assistant Emma Warrington by the physical Giving Tree which is now up and running.

Manager of Middleton Grange Mark Rycraft says the number of people at risk of going without this Christmas is “colossal”.

Requests for gifts online are being coordinated by the North East charity Cash For Kids’ Mission Christmas appeal.

Mark said: "We hit 1,000 pledges on Thursday. That’s far sooner than last year.

“We’re working in partnership with Cash For Kids’ Mission Christmas. Last year there were over 200,000 requests for need across the North East, so it’s colossal really.”

The Christmas appeal Giving Tree has opened at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre with the help of operations assistant Emma Warrington.

Shoppers have also been busy buying presents for children through the appeal’s physical Giving Tree in the shopping centre.

They will initially be given to youngsters supported by Harbour refuge and Hartlepool Carers.

Mark added: “We’ve gone all out this year to make sure that is available.

"People have been really keen to get involved again this year.

The Christmas appeal Giving Tree is under way at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.

"Within minutes of tags being installed on the tree customers were taking as many as four off at a time, then going with their children to buy a gift and taking it to the drop off point.”

Both the physical and online Giving Trees have gift tags for all ages and suitable for all budgets.

The drop off point for wrapped or unwrapped presents is a dedicated unit on the ground floor between Deichmann Shoes and mobile phone store Three.

The Giving Tree website has once again been designed by Hartlepool firm In Studio.

When buying a gift through the website, supporters will be directed to recommended retailers where they can buy the present from.

There is also a link where charities can apply to to Cash For Kids to benefit from the Giving Tree.

For full details of how to help or apply, go to www.hartlepoolgivingtree.co.uk.

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