A STAGGERING 200 presents have already been donated to our festive appeal, ensuring some of Wyre Forest's most vulnerable children have a gift to open on Christmas day.

We've had a huge response since launching the 16th annual Shuttle Gift Appeal, run in partnership with charity Home-Start Wyre Forest, and generous readers have already dropped off over 200 toys for local families in need.

Kidderminster charity The Odell Centre is among those to show support for the appeal.

Staff at The Odell Centre, which organises activities for adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues, usually hold a Secret Santa for their team of 18, but this year leader Kate Sallis suggested they buy a gift for a local child instead.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Home-Start co-ordinator Kelly Hurst, volunteer co-ordinator Joanne Shinton and Sue Spicer from charity partner Midcounties Co-operativeHome-Start co-ordinator Kelly Hurst, volunteer co-ordinator Joanne Shinton and Sue Spicer from charity partner Midcounties Co-operative

Kate said: “It makes you realise how lucky some children are getting lots of Christmas presents where there are many children out there who get very little in the way of presents.

"This year more than ever, with the devastating impact of coronavirus on family life, we should be thinking of others at Christmas time.”

Staff from Home-Start will distribute gifts to all of the children they support before Christmas, making life a little easier for families facing financial or mental health difficulties.

Home-Start Wyre Forest manager Belinda Darby said: “Home-Start have been overwhelmed with the response to the appeal in the first week since it launched, with large numbers of donations coming in already through Midcounties Co-operative stores, individuals and Franche Community Church.

"We are really touched to have the support of staff at a fellow charity and their donations will make a real difference to children we are helping.

"This year has been particularly tough for everyone and we want to make sure each child has a gift to open on the big day. Thank you to all at Odell for helping us in this way.”

Gifts can be donated until Monday, December 14 at Midcounties Co-op stores in Stourport and Franche Road, Kidderminster, the Swan Centre management suite, Franche Community Church, St Ambrose Church, St George's Church, Tesco branches in Stourport and Kidderminster, and the Home-Start office in New Road.

Home-Start staff and volunteers will then wrap and pack the gifts and store them in a Covid-secure storage room for 72 hours before delivering them to families.

Presents can be of any value but must be new and unwrapped.

For more information about Home-Start and the Shuttle Gift Appeal, visit homestartwyreforest.org.uk or call 01562 825896.