Gifting good will this Christmas

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Wigan Youth Zone

Dozens of families across Wigan Borough are about to receive a surprise delivery of Christmas presents, thanks to a partnership project led by Wigan Youth Zone, Wigan and Leigh College, Ince based firm Greenmount Projects and Wigan Council.

The council’s environmental services team is also working with Leigh organisation, Compassion in Action, to make up a further 100 food hampers, which they will deliver to local families on Christmas Eve.

The Leader of Wigan Council, Councillor David Molyneux, said:
“Christmas is a family time of year but we know that this year has been particularly difficult for many families in the borough so we wanted to do what we could to help bring a bit of joy to some of those families.”

Wigan Youth Zone has traditionally hosted a big Christmas meal for families that might not have been able to afford their own festive celebrations. This year the annual event couldn’t go ahead due to the pandemic, so the youth organisation instead set up an appeal for gift donations that they could then pass on to local families who would normally attend the Christmas party.

Local contracting firm Greenmount Projects heard about the appeal and were keen to get involved.

Managing Director, Mike Sharkey, said:
“When we heard about the appeal, we knew we wanted to help in some way.

“We got in touch with all of our suppliers and asked if they would be willing to contribute a present for a local family and we were overwhelmed by the response.”

Wigan and Leigh College has contributed to the collection of gifts and will also be supporting the distribution efforts.

Vice Principal, Louise Brown, said:
“We’ve collected gifts from our suppliers and our students have also contributed and have been so generous.

“Doing something like this makes you feel really proud of our local community.

“Everyone’s had such a tough year, but they’ve still found a way to help others.

“This has really helped to lift our spirits and I hope it will now do the same for families across the borough.”

In total, more than 250 gifts have been collected, along with 400 selection boxes. These will be divided among 100 different families across the borough.

Executive Director of Wigan Youth Zone, Anthony Ashworth-Steen said:
“We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the way these different organisations and the local community has come together.

“We were initially disappointed to cancel our annual Christmas meal, however the way in which we have remobilised has been incredible to the extent that we are help so many more people through this appeal.

“It shows what an impact all these different organisations can have when we all work together.

“The results have been very humbling.”

The council’s environmental services team are now getting ready to deliver 100 food hampers to families on Christmas Eve.

Coun Molyneux added:
“I’d like to say a big thank you to all of our staff, local residents, organisations, and businesses who have contributed to both the gift appeal and supported the hampers.

“These small acts of generosity are set to make a big difference to a lot of local families this Christmas.”