Wearside Women in Need overwhelmed by Christmas support for Sunderland charity

Wearside Women in Need staff, left to right, Robyn Siggens, Astou Diakhate, Paul Barrett and Clare Phillipson with donated Christmas gifts.
Wearside Women in Need staff, left to right, Robyn Siggens, Astou Diakhate, Paul Barrett and Clare Phillipson with donated Christmas gifts.
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Volunteers at a Sunderland domestic violence charity have been overwhelmed by the support of the public this Christmas.

Wearside Women in Need has been inundated with donations of toys and gifts from well-wishers.

“I have been here ‘til midnight every day for the last two weeks - it’s fantastic,” said co-ordinator Claire Phillipson.

“The response we have had from the public is amazing. The gifts, the donations, the help that people continue to provide is just totally overwhelming.

“The stuff that has come in is amazing - every five minutes people are dropping stuff off.

“It was the Echo Christmas toy appeal that started it and it has really grown from there.

“We are just so grateful.”

Those donations will be needed, however, with the festive season one of the charity’s busiest times of the year.

“We have kept two bedrooms spare because we know people will be coming in between Christmas and New Year,” said Claire.

“We keep a stack of toys for the children who come in because all their toys may have been smashed.”

Family pressures can come to a head with everyone under one roof and the expectations and pressures that Christmas brings.

“A lot of people are off for two weeks now,” said Claire.

“The kids are off, it is a bit of a pressure cooker – and a lot of abusers like to keep their partner isolated, which it is difficult to do when people are calling round.

“Things start to keep out of control and can come to a head at Christmas.

“We have seen a rise in the number of people coming to us for help and in the number of telephone calls we have been receiving, but that is good.

“It shows people know they are not alone, help is available and they don’t have to live with it.”