Bamber Bridge church's Christmas gift appeal to help people who are struggling

Volunteer Sarah Yates is asking the communityto nominate people who are going through hard times and could benefit from receiving free Christmas gifts.
Volunteer Sarah Yates is asking the communityto nominate people who are going through hard times and could benefit from receiving free Christmas gifts.
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A Bamber Bridge church hopes to put smiles on faces this Christmas by giving gifts to around 40 people experiencing hard times.


Sarah Yates, who volunteers for Valley Church's charitable arm People Matters, is calling on the community to nominate individuals or families living in difficult circumstances who could benefit from being given free Christmas gifts.

Sarah volunteers forValley Church's charitable arm People Matters.

Sarah volunteers forValley Church's charitable arm People Matters.

Nominations can be made at Valley Coffee in Fourfields, Bamber Bridge, until 4pm on Saturday.

Sarah said: "Life is tough sometimes, especially at Christmas.

"We've all been in a difficult place in life and people can often feel isolated if they're struggling while the rest of the world looks like it's having a party. It makes that problem feel more acute so we want to help people feel supported.

"I think it's a real privilege to be able to do it and it's meaningful and fun."

The appeal was launched in 2016 and has helped people with a range of struggles, from money problems to grief after losing someone. Anyone can be named, as long as the nominator knows them and can deliver the gift to them if they do not live locally.

The church then suggests ideas for gifts worth £20, which are written with the nominee's name on tags that are placed on the church's Christmas tree. Parishioners can then pick a tag, buy the suggested gift and bring it to church for distribution.

This year, Valley Coffee customers, conference attendees and community members can also become involved by making nominations.

They can also support the appeal by donating money to the church's People Matter collection tins or a hot drink voucher from the coffee shop to go in a gift bag.

"The appeal has made a massive difference according to feedback we've had in past years," Sarah said.

"A young couple had just lost a baby and they said the fact they'd been thought of made a difference to them.

"Some families have nothing to open on Christmas Day and it's not massive what we give them but it's just nice to do it."

When the appeal first launched, the church gave out gifts like sweet treats to each nominee.

"But we then started personalising them because the power in the whole project is that people know they've not been forgotten," Sarah added.

"People can be isolated by their circumstances and we like to give them a bit of love. That's what Christmas is all about."