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Don’t let Christmas become ‘a dark place’ - Bexleyheath charity drive helps families fleeing violence

PUBLISHED: 15:04 09 December 2016 | UPDATED: 15:04 09 December 2016

Christine Barton, retail liaison co-ordinator at Broadway Shopping Centre, with Michelle Smith, children and family support officer at Bexley Womens Aid. Picture by: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

Christine Barton, retail liaison co-ordinator at Broadway Shopping Centre, with Michelle Smith, children and family support officer at Bexley Womens Aid. Picture by: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

Each week two women lose their lives to domestic violence

Children fleeing domestic violence have been treated to Christmas presents through the kindness of strangers.

The annual giving tree at Broadway Shopping Centre has already seen scores of gifts left under it.

All of the gifts will be donated to Bexley Women’s Aid.

Last year, more than 300 gifts were donated to the charity, which helps families fleeing domestic violence.

One mum fleeing an abusive relationship wrote a letter to thank shoppers last year, after her son received a gift.

The woman, who remained anonymous due to her circumstances, said: “Me and my six-year-old boy had the best Christmas ever. This was thanks to your kindness.

“We cannot thank you enough for the charity’s overwhelming kindness without which Christmas would not have been possible, not only for us but for everyone here.

“We are extremely grateful from the bottom of our hearts. I have regained my faith in the help of complete strangers. Christmas was not a dark place this year.”

Each week, two women lose their lives to domestic violence.

Bexley Women’s Aid support 76 women in refuge accommodation last year, supporting a further 500 women in the community.

“The Giving Tree has been supporting families who use our services for several years now and we are overwhelmed with the support that we have received,” explained charity director Clair Johnson.

“It means the world to the children who we support to receive a special gift at Christmas

“It makes such a difference to them, knowing that there are so many generous people out there.”

People who wish to buy a gift collect a tag from the Giving Tree next to Santa’s Grotto in Broadway Shopping Centre.

They are asked to return the gift they buy unwrapped, with the tag filled out with the age and gender of the child the gift is appropriate for.


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