Children, young people and babies in care, victims of crime or domestic violence will have a merrier Christmas thanks to hundreds of generous gift donations organised by the council and Merton Police.
Merton’s cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Katy Neep kneeling in front, Merton Police’s Joanne Duffy, behind, poster competition winner Evie Winter, nine, and Santa.
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s Christmas Tree Project 2016 has been inundated by presents of all shapes and sizes which will be delivered to those in need by council staff in time for Christmas.
Police officers, staff and volunteers spent many hours wrapping the 507 gifts donated by members of the public to the scheme, which saw donations flood in from all over the borough.
People were advised to spend no more than £10 on a gift, and were given an age and gender of a child to buy for. Gifts were then donated to either Mitcham or Wimbledon Police stations.
Two vans load of presents were then delivered to the Civic Centre in Morden on Friday 9 December where they were distributed to looked-after children by council staff working in partnership with the police.
Merton’s cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Katy Neep, said: “The generosity of Merton residents has been outstanding and I am very happy that so many young people will have presents to unwrap this Christmas Day. I am sure that they will help to brighten our young people’s Christmas and I thank residents, staff and the local police for making this possible.”
Children, schools and families director Yvette Stanley said: “We’d like to thank the Metropolitan Police and residents for their generosity in supporting children who are looked after by Merton.”
Merton Police’s borough commander Theresa Breen said: “I am very proud and humbled to see how many of Merton’s residents have pledged gifts for this year’s Christmas Tree Appeal. We are very happy to be able to help vulnerable and deprived young people over the festive period.”
Other London boroughs also take part in the Met-wide Christmas Tree Project, and last year more than 11,000 presents were donated and more than £9,000 was raised. This year, online donations have already topped £19,300.
To donate online, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/metxmastree
Group photo caption from left: Merton Police’s Dave Haywood and Tim Mann, Merton Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Katy Neep, children, schools and families director Yvette Stanley, Merton Police’s Joanne Duffy, poster competition winner Evie Winter, nine, and Merton Police’s Steve Wallace with Santa.
More photos are available on the council’s Flickr account www.flickr.com/photos/mertoncouncil