More than a thousand vulnerable children given a present as part of the Christmas Tree Project

11 Dec 2017 16:00 PM

Christmas Tree Project [View Full Size]

The 'Christmas Tree Project' that saw the public donate hundreds of presents to police has come to an end this week - with gifts bought for more than a thousand vulnerable children.

Last year the public donated more than 4,000 presents to children across Newcastle and Gateshead who were not fortunate enough to enjoy a family Christmas.

It was a huge response and this year the force restricted the number of tags to just 1,000 this year so those officers volunteering their time could manage the demand.

But even they were surprised when all of the tags were snapped up by the public in just five days.

Last week members of the public, who had been able to grab a tag, dropped off their presents at Etal Lane and Forth Banks police stations.

PC Dan McGarrie has been running the project alongside Special Constable Natasha Withers and he today (Mon) paid tribute to those who donated to the project.

He said: "The generosity of our local communities never fails to amaze me and the fact that all 1,000 tags were snapped up in just five days says it all.

"We had to change the format of the Project this year as we are volunteering our own time to collect all the presents and we couldn't manage another 4,000 donations.

"There clearly is scope to expand this scheme though and next year we will be looking at the possibility of running this across the Northern and Southern area commands too.

"Ultimately our goal is to give as many vulnerable children as possible a present so we can make their Christmas just that little bit brighter.

"We come across a lot of these kids in our line of work and it does make us feel really proud when we are able to make just a little bit of a difference in a young person's life.

"Thank you to everyone who has donated and we wish you all a Merry Christmas."

The presents have been handed over to the eleven chosen organisations today who will now hand them to the vulnerable children they support.

The organisations include a number of charities as well Children’s Services at Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council.