FESTIVE shoppers have been buying extra gifts to help those in need over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The Galleries annual Giving Tree sits proudly in the centre of Wessington Square and is decorated with gift tags with seasonal wishes from families supported by Wearside Women in Need.
For the last 16 years shoppers at the Galleries have been taking the tags, buying gifts and donating it to people who the charity support to help brighten Christmas.
David McNee, centre manager at the Galleries, said: “Once again we are proud to be supporting Wearside Women in Need and are both delighted and amazed by the response of the local community.
“The willingness and generosity of our shoppers has once again shone through with hundreds of presents being donated already to help those who might otherwise go without.”
Wearside Woman in Need is a local charity, based in Washington helping vulnerable children, young people and families in need. They offer housing and support for families fleeing domestic violence, as well as offering work programmes for men who have a history of being violent to woman. They also offer advice and safe accommodation for young teenage women who have found themselves homeless.
Claire Phillipson, director of Wearside Woman in Need added: “The Giving Tree makes a huge difference to people at this time of year and the support people give is absolutely fantastic and I can’t express how much it means to the families.”
Meanwhile, 120 youngsters descended on The Galleries to meet Santa, thanks to a festive treat from the Rotary Club of Washington.
The Rotary Club of Washington organised the visit to The Galleries as part of its festive celebrations.
Neil McOnie, from the club, said: “Santa was kept going non stop and saw about 120 children and babies, who were all mesmerised at being able to sit and talk to Santa. They all went away with a big, big smile.”