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Giving Tree scheme sees Broadway shoppers provide Christmas presents for children fleeing domestic violence

PUBLISHED: 13:09 07 December 2015 | UPDATED: 13:09 07 December 2015

Bexley Women's Aid Giving Tree at The Broadway, Bexleyheath

Bexley Women's Aid Giving Tree at The Broadway, Bexleyheath

www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

Last year the Bexleyheath Giving Tree saw more than 300 gifts donated

A Giving Tree scheme set up at Broadway shopping centre is providing children fleeing domestic violence with presents this Christmas.

Bexleyheath shoppers have been playing Santa by donating gifts for children whose families are being supported by Bexley Women’s Aid.

Shoppers take a tag from the tree at Broadway shopping centre, each with the details of a child’s age and gender, buy an appropriate gift and bring it back to the mall.

Last year, the Giving Tree saw more than 300 gifts donated, helping families in challenging situations feel welcomed, appreciated, and remembered.

One woman whose children received gifts last year said afterwards: “I worry about being able to give my children a happy Christmas being in refuge, when they are not surrounded by their own toys, possessions and home comforts.

“Because of the Giving Tree I am able to relax knowing my children will have a smile on their faces when they receive the amazing gifts from such generous people.”

The identities of the women who have been helped by the charity are not being revealed due to their challenging life situations.

Bexley Women’s Aid provides a safe environment for up to 26 families affected by domestic violence.

Last year it supported 90 women in refuge accommodation, along with 99 children, while 400 further women are supported in the community.

Clair Johnson, director of Bexley Women’s Aid, said: “We are always amazed and moved not only by how many gifts are donated, but by the thought that people put into them – they really care about the children they are buying for, and even if they will never meet them in person, they know they are making a huge difference to that child’s Christmas.”

Broadway Shopping Centre manager Peter Sedge added: “Christmas should be a special time of year for all children, regardless of their circumstances, and thanks to our very generous customers, we are thrilled to be able to ensure that that they wake up to something special on the big day.”

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