Council ends gift appeal

Coun Pamela Jackson, Mayor Coun Val Haynes and Consort Alan Haynes at the launch of the Give A Little campaign 2014

Coun Pamela Jackson, Mayor Coun Val Haynes and Consort Alan Haynes at the launch of the Give A Little campaign 2014

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Town hall chiefs have pulled the plug on a Christmas appeal which ensured hundreds of vulnerable children in the resort had gifts to open on Christmas morning.

The ‘Give a Little’ campaign was launched four years ago and each year saw presents donated for nearly 1,000 deprived youngsters.

But Blackpool Council, whose staff took a leading role in the campaign, says cutbacks mean it no longer has the resources to dedicate to the scheme.

This year it is proposing to back the Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal instead.

Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “For four years, the ‘Give a little’ campaign helped to give lots of Blackpool children a happier Christmas.

“It was a heart-warming campaign that the whole town got behind and I know that a lot of families were grateful for it.

“However, in the current climate of local government, we always have to look at the best ways to spend our limited resources and for our social workers their main priority has to be making sure that children are kept safe and protected on a daily basis.

“At the same time, we also found that some of our regular partners were also struggling to support such a time-demanding campaign while their own resources were shrinking.

“We still want to make sure that children are not left without at Christmas and will this year be throwing our support behind the Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal.

“That is a well-respected appeal that supports those people who really need it and I hope that the people who donated to our campaign will direct their kind-heartedness in their direction.

“We are also very grateful for an offer of support from the Kensington Foundation, in terms of distributing toys, and will be working with them and the Salvation Army to try and harness as much of the goodwill that exists out there in our communities.”

‘Give A Little’ was launched each year in the Mayor’s Chamber at Blackpool Town Hall, with council staff sorting through hundreds of donated gifts.

Social workers then identified the families who would receive presents. Donations also included vouchers for attractions.