Tamworth charities receive Operation Christmas gifts in time for Christmas

Tuesday, 19th December 2017

TAMWORTH shoppers have generously donated a haul of presents to a local shopping centre’s gifting appeal, giving three charities the chance to enjoy a spectacular Christmas.

Acorns Children’s Hospice, Pathway Project and Community Together CIC benefitted from the kindness of customers from Ankerside Shopping Centre on Monday, 18 December, after hundreds of presents were popped in the collection box, ensuring both charities have a fantastic festive season.

Ankerside Shopping Centre manager, Jeff Wigley, said he was overwhelmed by the response Operation Christmas received from people in and around Tamworth. “This has been the best year yet for our annual gifting appeal,” he said. “This is the fourteenth year for Operation Christmas and the generosity from our shoppers, year in year out, has been outstanding.

Ankerside Shopping Centre manager, Jeff Wigley surrounded by the gifts donated to Operation Christmas.

“This is the first year we have chosen three charities to be involved in the campaign, so we were delighted to introduce local organisation Community Together CIC to benefit from the gifts along with Acorns Children’s Hospice and Pathway Project,” Jeff said.

“Since November, we had huge amounts of donations from members of the public, so much so we emptied the collection box many times to accommodate for new contributions,” he added. “It’s so wonderful to see shoppers and businesses getting involved and I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who kindly donated.

Established in 1988, Acorns Children’s Hospice offers care to children, young people and their families of those suffering life-limiting illnesses. Tanya Fellows, Community Fundraising Officer at Acorns Children’s Hospice, said: “It’s wonderful that children and families supported Acorns will once again benefit from Ankerside’s Operation Christmas – a big thank you to everyone who has donated presents. As a charity which relies on the generosity of the local community to continue our vital care, we are extremely grateful for Ankerside Shopping Centre’s longstanding support.”

Pathway Project was officially founded in 1991 and works to help those facing domestic abuse through a 24-hour helpline and refuge accommodation. Jackie Hughes of Pathways Project, said: “Ankerside Shopping Centre has supported us for so many years and we cannot thank them enough. As always, the presents make a massive difference to both children and their mums.

“Their stay with us at Christmas sounds gloomy and sad, but many of them over the years have told us it has been one of their best Christmas’, as they’re provided with a happy atmosphere and for the first time many of the children are able to be little, laugh, have fun, make noise and most of all enjoy their presents that they probably wouldn’t have had.”

Community Together CIC is all about working with people in the area with everything from community cafes and advice to local activities and initiatives. Steve Hodgetts of Tamworth’s Community Together CIC, said: “We’re so grateful for being chosen as the third charity to be supported by Ankerside’s Operation Christmas,” he said. “The donations we’ve received will be used by hundreds of people who access the charity’s hub, Out Reach Community Cafes and Youth Clubs throughout 2018.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated, it is truly appreciated by everybody here at Community Together CIC.”

(From left to right) Santa’s Helper, Ankerside’s Administrator Lucy Harvey, Acorns Children’s Hospice’s Kevin Breen, Pathway Project’s Jo Billington and Jackie Hughes, Ankerside’s Manager Jeff Wigley, Acorn Children’s Hospice’s Andrea Murphy and Steve Hodgetts of Community Together CIC.