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Victims of domestic abuse thank shoppers after Giving Tree sees record donations

PUBLISHED: 11:59 30 January 2017

Bexley Women�s Aid volunteer Emma Smith with Broadway Shopping Centre retail liaison co-ordinator Christine Barton and some of the letters of thanks, after a record 355 gifts were donated to this year�s Giving Tree. Picture by: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

Bexley Women�s Aid volunteer Emma Smith with Broadway Shopping Centre retail liaison co-ordinator Christine Barton and some of the letters of thanks, after a record 355 gifts were donated to this year�s Giving Tree. Picture by: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

More than 350 children received gifts

Mothers fleeing abuse in the borough have given thanks after donations helped brighten up Christmas.

More than 350 presents were left under a ‘Giving Tree’ in Bexleyheath’s Broadway Shopping Centre over the festive season - all of which were donated to users of Bexley Women’s Aid.

Staff and volunteers at the service have since been inundated with letters and cards of thanks from families who received a gift.

One mum, who lives at the BWA’s refuge and received a gift for her young daughter, wrote: “Watching my child opening her presents at Christmas brought a year to my eye.

“It was a happy tear because seeing her so happy was just amazing after everything we have been through.

“When my little girl had to leave so many of her toys and things behind it was heart breaking, I felt like I was punishing her when I was trying to protect her.

“So being able to give her some new toys and things to make her own again was so special.”

The charity provides a safe environment for up to 26 families, affected by domestic violence.

In 2016, it supported 76 women in refuge accommodation, along with 74 children, helping a further 500 women in the community.

In total, a record 355 gifts were donated to the Giving Tree last year.

Director of BWA, Clair Johnson, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support that we have received.

“The Giving Tree gifts mean such a lot to the families who use our services and it is a joy to see the children’s faces light up when they receive their gift.

“It’s testament to the generosity of the people of Bexleyheath that the number of gifts we receive each year just keeps growing.”

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