OUR annual Shuttle Christmas Gift Appeal is again aiming to bring plenty of extra seasonal joy to youngsters across the Wyre Forest district.

As our partner in the appeal for more than a decade, local family support charity Home-Start Wyre Forest will co-ordinate and deliver gifts to children in the district whose families are receiving their support.

This year's Shuttle Christmas Gift Appeal launches today (Thursday, November 9) and it will run until Friday, December 15.

We are asking the generous readers of the Shuttle to support our Gift Appeal by donating a gift for a local child or teenager aged 0-18 years.

When you have chosen your gift, all you have to do is take the present – however big and of whatever value – to one of the outlets taking part.

Home-Start ask that the gifts are unwrapped when donated – then volunteers will wrap and deliver the gifts to children and young people before Christmas Day.

Drop off points this year include the Home-Start offices, in New Road, Kidderminster; the Swan Centre Management Suite; the Weavers Wharf Management Suite; Midcounties Co-op stores in Kidderminster, Bewdley and Stourport; Tesco Superstore, in Castle Road; As One Vegan Lifestyle, in Stourport; Baxter College and the Civic Hall, in Stourport.

Last year’s Gift Appeal saw 730 presents collected for children and teenagers across Wyre Forest.

Belinda Darby, Home-Start manager, said: "Every year, we are amazed at the quality and quantity of the gifts donated to the appeal and the thought people have clearly put in to their donations.

"We are astounded by the generosity of people in Wyre Forest and I hope those who donate this year realise how much their gifts will mean to the families we support.

"It is such a pressured time of year for everyone, but for families with the added pressures of isolation, depression, past trauma or illness, it can be a very challenging time.

"To receive an anonymous gift, with nothing required in return, can ease the pressure and make the season a little more enjoyable - but more importantly, it is sending out the message that someone cares about them and their family at a very vulnerable time in their lives.

"It is a privilege to be involved with the appear year on year."

We are also keen to hear from any schools, businesses and organisations who would like to join and support the appeal as additional donation points.

The Shuttle Christmas Gift Appeal has been running since 1995 – when it was called the Christmas Tree Appeal – and has been lighting up the faces of children in need in Wyre Forest ever since.

Home-Start Wyre Forest offers befriending and practical help in the home to families who are experiencing additional stress.

For more information on this year’s Gift Appeal or if you would like to get involved, contact Belinda Darby on 01562 825896, or Shuttle reporter Dayna Farrington on 01384 358234.