Christmas is a time for giving and organisers of an annual Wearside campaign are hoping the public will help support families who have been forced to leave their homes with nothing.
Wearside Women in Need and bosses at the Galleries Washington have launched the festive campaign.
A display featuring stories from those who have been helped by the charity has been unveiled alongside a request for specific gifts that will spread a little Christmas joy.
These include pyjamas, toiletries, books and toys to help create a sense of Christmas as well as practical donations such as mobile phones that will have a long-term impact on those people the charity helps each year.
David McNee, centre manager at the Galleries, said: “A new pair of pyjamas on Christmas Eve, a bedtime story, a film or new toiletries might be a tradition for many but for those supported by the charity, they have literally left home with nothing.
“Shoppers at the Galleries have supported Wearside Women in Need in this way every Christmas for many years and we hope that they will again.
“The requests are for simple things but they bring enormous pleasure to those who will receive them and our shoppers are invited to come and pick a tag and donate that present.”
Charity Wearside Women in Need is based in Washington and Sunderland and helps vulnerable children, young people and families in need.
It offers housing and support for families fleeing domestic violence, as well as community support for women and their children who may need advice and help.
Becky Rogerson, director of Wearside Woman in Need, added: “We are always humbled by the huge support we receive from the community to help us support women and children in Wearside, and there has never been a greater need than right now.
“Sadly, domestic abuse appears to be more prevalent than ever and our services are under great pressure to meet the rising demand.
“This year we are asking people to be as practical as possible when thinking about ‘Giving’ – gifts are a lovely gesture, but we struggle to keep our refuges well equipped and to provide emergency supplies for families in great need with very practical goods.
“The priority is safety, and there are times when having a mobile phone to call the Police can save a life, when having a shopping voucher to go out and buy essential food and clothing is a really empowering tool, promoting independence and choice.”
“We would like to thank everyone involved in this, it makes an enormous difference.”
The Wearside Women in Need display can be found in Wessington Square until Christmas Eve.