Festive fun is extra special

PC Kevin Foggin and PC Stuart Lacey help Santa at St Chads Church to hand out selection boxes to children from the Ashkirk Homeless unit.
PC Kevin Foggin and PC Stuart Lacey help Santa at St Chads Church to hand out selection boxes to children from the Ashkirk Homeless unit.
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POLICE teamed up with Santa to deliver some festive cheer to a Sunderland homeless shelter.

Officers from Farringdon station dropped in to Ashkirk Homeless Unit’s Christmas party at St Chad’s Church, in East Herrington.

They donated selection boxes for the children and a tin of biscuits for each family from the shelter.

Santa also visited to play games, sing songs and get the party started, and former residents stopped by to join in the fun.

Pc Stuart Lacey, neighbourhood beat manager for Farringdon, works with the shelter and each Christmas the police station gives presents to the families there.

He said: “We had a fantastic day. It was well turned out. There were a lot of young children who were over the moon to see Santa and were quite happy with the selection boxes and presents.”

The Lakeside Village shelter caters for homeless families and can house up to 16 at a time.

The unit also works with its residents to provide “cook and eat classes” which teach how to prepare healthy meals on a budget.

The shelter also works to find the residents housing and address issues that have led to them being unable to maintain their accommodation, as well as provide them with the skills to maintain independent living.

Staff at the centre work with residents during the Christmas period to help with money management and budgeting to stop them getting into debt.

The shelter is one of the many causes that is receiving gifts from the Echo’s Christmas Toy appeal which aims to provide Christmas presents to disadvantaged children across Wearside.

Mel Baynes, care and support manager for Bernicia, the company that runs the shelter, said: “We are extremely grateful to anyone who makes a donation in these difficult financial times.

“It makes a huge difference to the children and young people who often don’t know what it is to have the kind of Christmas that we all take for granted.

“Therefore, on behalf of the parents and children at Ashkirk I would like to thank you so much for your continued support.”

Twitter: @sunechohannah