A small community club with a big heart has ensured disadvantaged families across Bridlington will enjoy a Christmas treat this year.
The Bridlington Swish Group, who recycle old belongings by swapping them with each other, have prepared food hampers of festive fare for every family who use the Real Aid Food Bank in Bridlington.
And the giving doesn’t stop there, as the members have managed to collect a vast amount of cuddly toys to be wrapped and donated to the Salvation Army’s Toy Appeal for children this Christmas, and substantial financial donations to a variety of other Bridlington charities which care for the homeless.
Lisa Smelt, 39, of St Johns Avenue, spearheaded the campaign and said: “I would just like to make sure everybody has a nicer Christmas with a bit extra. We have included things that people wouldn’t normally be able to afford, like fresh fruit, shortbread, festive biscuits and luxury items.”
Lindsey Killick, of Real Aid, said: “It is absolutely fantastic, it really is. It just makes that bit of difference at this time of year. It is so important just to give a little bit as obviosuly it is so hard trying to live on a subsistence allowance or a low income.
“I would like to say an absolutely massive thank you to the group. It is heartening that people are aware of people in their local community who are struggling.”
Members of Bridlington Swish have raised the funds through collecting together their unused Morrisons vouchers, and have altogther raised nearly £1,000.
The group has split the money up between several charities including the Kingfisher Trust, which has recieved £240 in vouchers, Salvation Army, given £240 worth of food, the Hinge Centre, which has £200 in vouchers donated, Real Aid have had £200 split up into food hampers and £80 has gone to the Salvation Army’s Toy Appeal.
Lisa Jackson, 27, also of St John’s Avenue, has managed collecting the toys and said: “It is really great, we never expected to get anything like this. I think it will mean a lot to the children getting the toys but it also means a lot for our children as they learn through it about how there are children who won’t be getting as much for Christmas.”
Captain Lynne Edwards of Bridlington Salvation Army, said: “This is where the real spirit of Christmas is. Forget all the baubles and tinsel this is where Christmas is.
“The toys make the children feel special. It doesn’t take an awful lot to brighten up a child’s life just a little bit in what can be a very grey lifestyle.
“It helps the families as well, they begin to feel not quite so bleak because someone else cares.”
Brid Swish often donate left over items from its meetings to Real Aid and Niccii Hines, 34, of Midway Avenue, who often hosts the meetings said there is a great community feel in the group.
She said: “It has just totally snowballed. I honestly got goosepimples at the tills in Morrisons and the staff there have been really helpful. It is absolutely amazing. It was really important to go to the different charities and work out what they want.”
A spokesperson for Morrisons said: “This is a really nice story which shows the Christmas spirit is alive and well in the town.”