Parishioners at one of Oldham’s churches have hit a 20 year milestone – donating presents to people on probation – just in time for Christmas.
Worshippers at the Shore Edge Methodist Church, in Buckstones Road, Shaw, have donated new and second hand gifts to Oldham probation every year since 1996.
Toys are donated to the Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company’s (CGM CRC) probation officers Carl Duddrige and Hayley Stapleton, who then distribute them among offenders who are known to have children and be in need. Colleague Chris Oakley has organised the transport for the collection.
Church steward Val Ridley helps run the initiative. As well as toys, people donate selection boxes and clothing.
She said: “Children generally get so much at Christmas. We encourage our parishioners to think about others in the borough during the festive period, who might not be as lucky as they are, and to donate toys to them. I am delighted we are able to spread a little Christmas cheer.”
Carl is based in CGM CRC’s Oldham office, and runs the scheme in conjunction with his colleague Hayley Stapleton.
He said: “We run a women’s centre for female offenders. The toys are extremely gratefully received especially by those for whom we know money is tight. It captures the real spirit of Christmas and illustrates that there are some really nice, genuine people out there who care. It helps us to help our service users.”