Two women launch toy appeal for families in need in South Tyneside this Christmas

A heartfelt appeal has been launched by two women hoping to give youngsters of struggling families living in South Tyneside a Christmas to remember.

Angie Comerford and Jo Durkin are determined to lend parents - who find themselves in desperate situations financially - a helping hand to put a smile on their children’s faces when they wake on December 25.

Hebburn Helps Christmas toy appeal
From left Angie Comerford and Jo Durkin

Hebburn Helps Christmas toy appeal From left Angie Comerford and Jo Durkin

The pair run Hebburn Helps, which is based at South Tyneside Children’s Centre, in Campbell Park Road, Hebburn and help provide food parcels for those struggling to put a meal on the table for their families.

With Christmas fast approaching, they have now turned their attention to helping collect donations of gifts to hand out to youngsters who may otherwise not receive anything.

Angie said: “We have a number of families who come to us and they are genuinely struggling to make ends meet. With Christmas coming up, it is going to be especially hard for them.

“We ran a toy appeal last year and we had 350 items donated which were given to families in South Tyneside.

We just want to support them the best they can to help them give their children a happy Christmas.

Angie Comerford

“It means a lot, and not just to the kids. It also means everything to their parents who are really struggling financially and are trying to do their best for their children.”

She added: “These families haven’t asked to be in the situation they are in, but with job losses and cuts to benefits, they are finding it hard.

“We just want to support them the best they can to help them give their children a happy Christmas.”

As well as toys, the Hebburn Helps team are also asking for people to consider doing an reverse advent calender.

Hebburn Helps Christmas toy appeal
From left Angie Comerford and Jo Durkin

Hebburn Helps Christmas toy appeal From left Angie Comerford and Jo Durkin

This means people placing an item of food into a box each day leading up to Christmas which can then be donated to a family in need.

A number of businesses are already getting behind the Hebburn Helps appeal by providing a place where people can drop off gifts.

All they ask is donations of toys are left unwrapped.

Donations can be left at Morrisons in Jarrow, Fellgate Autistic Unit, Deja Vu in Victoria Road, Deja Vu and Wings of Scent in Leicester Way, Fellgate.

Angie added: “We know times are tough for everyone so any donation would be gratefully received.

“We hope to build on our success from last year and make this appeal bigger and better.”

Hebburn Helps opens Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm.