SAINSBURY'S Local on Duke Street, Darlington, has launched a Christmas gift appeal in support of a women's refuge, Family Help Darlington CIO.

Family Help Darlington CIO is a refuge for women and children in Darlington and the team cares for those fleeing domestic abuse, threat of violence or any other kind of danger. 

The staff at Sainsbury’s Duke Street have set up a collection point in store for shoppers to donate small gifts including children’s toys and toiletries.

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Jo Robinson from Sainsbury’s Duke Street said: “We wanted to support a local charity and although it has been a hard year for everyone, it will have been hardest for people needing help from Family Help Darlington CIO.

The Northern Echo:

“It seemed like a worthy cause and as Christmas is coming we thought it would be a good thing to do as a community-effort.

“The staff liked the idea so we’ve set up a little collection point in the shop.”

Anna Caygill from Family Help Darlington CIO said: “Although we’re the only refuge of this kind in Darlington, people from all over the UK come to us so any gifts people donate will be greatly appreciated.

“People using our service are fleeing domestic abuse and usually they arrive with nothing so it’s lovely to be able to give the women some toiletries or a cosmetics set and the children some cuddly toys or games, just to lifts their spirits.”

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Due to Covid and health and safety, second-hand donations cannot be accepted but Anna made clear that any donations big or small would make a big difference.

“There’s no such thing as too many donations because they’re not just for Christmas, we can use them for birthdays and for when people first arrive at the refuge. These are people who’ve had a very tough time and if a small gift can help them then we encourage donations.

“We want the people using our refuge to feel at home and if a small gift can help then we want to provide that for them. We want people to feel as welcome and as comfortable as possible.”