Christmas gift appeal receives hundreds of donations from local businesses

We're helping to bring some festive cheer to families across Sunderland this year thanks to the generosity of our colleagues and partners who’ve donated hundreds of gifts.

Selection boxes, plush toys, board games and perfume sets are among the hundreds of gifts that will be distributed to families across the city ahead of Christmas Day, who might find it difficult to provide Christmas presents for their children this year.

Working with our partner, ENGIE, we launched our appeal earlier this year, with colleagues across the North East encouraged to donate an extra gift to help make Christmas special for those who are less fortunate.

The financial impact of Covid-19 has hit households hard this year and the presents will be provided to local families who have been referred by our Housing Teams and Together for Children.

Louise Bassett, Executive Director of Corporate Services at Gentoo Group said: “For so many local families the run up to Christmas is one of worry and this year the need to help is greater than it has ever been.

“Last month we launched an appeal for our colleagues and partners to buy an extra gift to help make someone’s Christmas special and we’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity that has been shown.

“These gifts will make a huge difference to families who otherwise may not have been able to celebrate Christmas or give presents to their children and I’d like to thank every person who has donated to our appeal and made this possible.”

Amy Porter, CSR Manager at ENGIE, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Gentoo in helping families across Sunderland get Christmas gifts. The holiday season can be a tough time for many people, and this year has made it even more difficult.

“I want to thank everyone at ENGIE, and our subcontractors who are working with us on site, for being so generous with their donations. It will make a big difference to so many families and will hopefully provide some extra Christmas cheer.”

This year the gifts were quarantined before distribution in line with Coronavirus rules.