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Hurst children's charity support more than 1,000 children with Christmas stockings

A charity in Hurst is delivering stockings to more than 1,000 children in need this Christmas.

First Days Children’s Charity, in Broadwater Lane, first started its 2020 Christmas Campaign in October.

The campaign, which has been supported by the community, schools, churches and businesses, has seen supporters either give gifts at drop-off points in the Wokingham area, choose items through an Amazon wishlist or take away a stocking to fill and hand back to the charity.

Donated items include books, toiletries, small clothing items, underwear and toys.

A team of volunteer drivers are delivering the stockings to families in need ahead of the big day.

The charity has received referrals for more than 1,000 Christmas stockings from childcare professionals.

More than 900 stockings will be distributed in Berkshire and the surrounding areas and 100 stockings will be going to the north of England.

Ruth Hards, the charity’s referrals manager, explained that it supports families at Christmas every year, but in terms of the scale of children they are helping, this is ‘by far’ its biggest year.

She said: “I think it just demonstrates the pressure everybody’s under this year, and obviously the reality of childhood poverty was huge before, before 2020 hit.

“[There are] just more families than ever with financial challenges at the moment.”

The charity is also working with Wokingham Foodbank and Share Wokingham to deliver a Christmas food and treat box and vouchers for local businesses and cafes to families in the Wokingham borough, alongside their stockings.

It’s just great to be able to be part of something really special, to be able to feel like we’re helping spread a little bit of joy this Christmas and take some pressure and worry off families, it’s a really rewarding thing to do.

She added: “We’ve had some, some lovely messages from some of the families who have received the stockings already.

“It’s incredible how generous everyone is being who can be at the moment.”

For more information about the campaign visit: www.firstdays.net/christmasgiving

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