Every child in every refuge from domestic violence in the region will receive a box of toys, thanks to Rotary North East.
The boxes will each contain £80-plus worth of toys for the children, many of whom arrive at a refuge with only the clothes they are wearing. They also may be restricted to living in one room with siblings and their mother.
The Rotary North East KidsOut Ambassador, Norman Sellar, said that almost £6,000 was raised in the region, which would fund 233 boxes full of brand new toys and games, many of which had been donated.
The toys will be age appropriate and are designed to promote social and educational development and family bonding.
Norman, who has been involved with KidsOut for 12 years, said: ‘Christmas is always tough for families in a refuge who are survivors of domestic violence, and this year is set to be harder than usual because of the pandemic.
“Mothers struggle to provide basic essentials, let alone Christmas presents.
“The children we support often have very few possessions of their own and these toys will provide comfort, happiness and Christmas joy in difficult times.”
Christmas is always tough for families in a refuge who are survivors of domestic violence, and this year is set to be harder than usual because of the pandemic.”
The campaign to ensure every child in every refuge receives a toy box is part of a national effort, supported by Rotary in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Toy boxes will be packed by KidsOut and delivered straight to refuges across the country.
Rotary North East District Governor, Barbara Broadbelt, said: “It is typically generous of Rotary clubs in the North East who have donated enough money to provide boxes for every child in the region.
“These toys will help support children’s mental health and make the world seem a little kinder.”
More information can be obtained from www.kidsout.org.uk
Meanwhile, also in the north-east, more than 130 youngsters across Darlington borough entered a competition to design a charity Christmas card.
The designs range from a nativity scene to a penguin, with all proceeds from the sale of the cards going to Darlington Rotary’s charity fund.
Organiser of the competition, Rotarian Sue Campbell said: “We were blown away by the number and the quality of the entrants and it was a very difficult task to choose just six.”
Darlington Rotary President, Nigel Little said he was grateful to a number of individuals and companies who had sponsored the printing of the cards by Marford Litho in Darlington.
We were blown away by the number and the quality of the entrants and it was a very difficult task to choose just six.”
He said: “It means that every penny from the sale of the cards will go into our charity account to help charities at home and further afield, many of whom have been hit hard by the Covid crisis.”
Entries came in from Rotary’s Rotakids at Reid Street School and from Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College Rotary Interact Club, as well as individuals.
The cards were sold in packs of six, with each card carrying a different winning design.
At Elland Rotary, the West Yorkshire club has been supporting Voluntary Action Calderdale by delivering 96 shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts.
The club has contributed 200 of the 800 boxes currently filled. And an appeal for cash to support the festive fund-raiser for the Calderdale area has now topped £7,000.