Families facing a difficult Christmas are set to have a sprinkling if Christmas cheer thanks to a special wish tree.
The Wish Tree is a way for people to offer help and support to vulnerable families this Christmas.
With many families struggling to pay bills or heat their homes and others having fled domestic violence, Clare House, South Ribble’s women’s refuge, is asking the community to help.
This year will be the 10th year the Wish Tree has been running and the amount of support received means that not only can the staff at Clare House help the families that they work directly with, but we also support other families in South Ribble that are in need.
The idea to set up the wish tree came when Sarah Bell, a Child Support Worker at South Ribble Women’s Refuge, visited Seattle on holiday and spotted a giving tree in a mall collecting gifts for homeless people in the city.
Sarah said: “I saw the giving tree and people taking tags from it and was really touched.
“I think it’s a really nice way for people to help someone else at Christmas that doesn’t cost a lot but can mean a huge amount to the person receiving the gift.”
If you would like to support someone in your community this Christmas then you can visit one of the trees and select a tag.
Each tag gives a wish; for example, a Barbie doll for a five year old girl or a box of chocolates for a mum.
You buy the gift and then return it unwrapped with the tag to the tree. Staff at the Refuge will then collect the gifts and distribute them in time for Christmas.
The Christmas wish trees are located at Progress Housing Group’s head office on King Street, Leyland and at South Ribble Borough Council’s Civic Centre on West Paddock.
Gifts will be collected at 12pm on Tuesday 18 December in time to be distributed before Christmas.
Wish Trees are also located at Stonehouse Nursery in Leyland for children and parents to donate gifts and for staff at Runshaw College in Leyland and at Progress Housing Group’s office in Lytham St Annes.
Sarah said: “Each year the people of South Ribble show such wonderful Christmas spirit with their overwhelming support of our wish tree appeal.
“There are so many vulnerable families in the area and over the last 10 years they have made Christmas happen for hundreds of families.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse you can call the 24 hour South Ribble domestic abuse helpline on 01772 435865 or 0808 2000 247.