Lack of charity shops and car boot sales set to boost hard-up Doncaster families at Christmas

Former teacher Leanne Bradley understands how difficult life can be for some of Doncaster’s most hard up families.

By David Kessen
Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 12:30 pm

She remembers from her days in the classroom in some of the most deprived areas of South Yorkshire how some families struggled to put food on the table.

But when Christmas arrived, it put even more pressure on tight resources.

This year, Doncaster Parents’ Voice (DPV), a group of mums and dads of disabled youngsters across the borough, is trying to take some of that pressure off them.

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Leanne Bradley with some of the toys collected by Doncaster Parents' Voice

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They have collected toys for a scheme that will see new and nearly new toys head to hard-up households.

Leanne is one of the mums helping run the collection. Doncaster charity Changing Lives will distribute them.

Leanne said: “The impact of the pandamic has been tough on many familes. People have lost jobs.

Andrea Pearson with some of the toys collected by Doncaster Parents' Voice

“Christmas can be really tough for so many people. I’ve had experience of children that have not had a lot at Christmas from my time in teaching. You knew of families struggling to provide the basics of food, let alone Christmas.”

When members of the group said they were struggling to find charity shops to take toys their children were too old for, they decided to help.

Now they have collected hundreds of toys, and are working with Doncaster Carers Centre, on Regent Square to help collect them

Many were donated by parents within the group – but many more have been donated following an appeal to other families.

"It is toys that are still in good condition,” said Leanne. “Charity shops have been closed, and there have not been car boot sales, otherwise they may have have gone there. There is really amazing stuff that has been donated, as well as brand new items with the labels still on, and big, gorgeous books.”

Long serving DPV member Debbie Osborne, who has been involved with the group since it started in 2012, said the group provided support and advice for the parents of children with special needs, often before they had been diagnosed. They also liaise with authories such as the NHS and Doncaster Council.

She said they were working with Changing Lives, who provide presents for children who otherwise may not get any.

"We wanted to donate them all to Changing Lives,” she said.

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