Policeman sets up winter warmers appeal after being saddened to hear of children without winter coats
A Northumbria Police officer was so saddened to hear some children were without a winter coat he decided to set up an appeal to help keep them warm this Christmas.
PC Alan Bowden from Sunderland West Neighbourhood Policing Team launched the appeal, Winter Warmers 2016, after he learned a pupil at one of his local schools did not have a winter coat - and the child's family were unlikely to be able to afford one.
As part of the drive, officers and staff across the force have been asked to donate children's winter coats, scarfs and gloves that can be given to those who need them.
Now members of the public are being urged to get involved and donate any unwanted items at their local police station.
PC Bowden said: "We all have children's winter coats, scarfs and gloves which are too small or not worn anymore which are in wardrobes, cupboards and lofts which will never be worn again and I would like people to donate these items to our appeal so that the children in our communities cannot only stay warm but we can put a smile on their faces this Christmas."
And, PC Bowden is not the only officer asking for unwanted items, earlier this month PC Kirsty Pitchford asked officers and staff to donate unwanted clothes and children's toys for Wearside Women in Need and South Tyneside Women - two charities that offer help and support to families who have escaped violent and abusive relationships.
When they arrive at the respective refuge the families are in the midst of a crisis and often their only possessions are the clothes on their back and a handful of personal items.
To help those families who turn up at the refuge, PC Pitchford is collecting clothes and toys to donate to the charities ahead of Christmas.
Each refuge is in need of clothing for both children and women.
PC Pitchford said: "Quite often families who turn up at a refuge arrive with only the clothes they are wearing and very few personal items.
"As people clear out clothes and toys to create space for the new delivery from Santa, I want them to consider donating the items they no longer need to help families out at a time when they need it most."
The area commander for Southern Area Command for Sunderland and South Tyneside is Chief Superintendent Ged Noble who has praised the actions of the officers in helping those who are more vulnerable at this time of year.
Ch Supt Noble said: "I think both of these campaigns are absolutely fantastic , both officers came up with the initiatives themselves after hearing and seeing stories first hand as part of their work in the local community and they both have my full support.
"I would encourage anyone who has any unwanted toys or clothing that are still in good condition to donate them to these two great causes."
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird QC, said: "These Christmas charity appeals are excellent ideas to help improve what can be a difficult time for those struggling to make ends meet or for familes fleeing domestic abuse.
"By helping to keep vulnerable children warm or cheering up a child with a toy, a bad situation can be made that bit easier.
"These officers are doing a great job to help those less fortunate and I wish these appeals every success."
To donate clothes and toys for the refuges please drop these off at Millbank Police Station or Southwick Police Station.
Winter coats, scarfs and gloves can be donated across the force. Please mark which you would like your items donated to.