'We want to help spread some festive cheer' - Stoke-on-Trent officers back Christmas campaign
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Caring police officers have collected in hundreds of Christmas gifts for struggling families as part of a city-wide campaign to help those in need.
And officers have also used their own cash to snap up gifts for children and adults along with helping to collect donations from the public.
The initiative has seen Staffordshire Police link up with Port Vale FC, the Port Vale Foundation Trust, and the Hubb Foundation children’s charity to help identify families in Stoke-on-Trent who need extra help this Christmas. The groups have come together to join forces with community champion Jason Powner, who has worked tirelessly to help vulnerable people in the Potteries and is once again leading the campaign to help out.
While the final total of gifts collected remains under wraps, officers at Stoke-on-Trent North Neighbourhood Policing Team have witnessed the generosity of the Potteries public who have handed over scores of donations. In addition, officers and PCSOs have been spreading details of the campaign in their communities and have seen a fantastic response.
It is not the first year officers have linked in with Jason, who runs Smallthorne-based tattoo parlour SkinJase. But as the city continues to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, the efforts this year have proved even more pertinent.
Chief Inspector Mark Barlow, commander of Stoke-on-Trent North NPT, said: “We have previously done these collections at Stoke North during Christmas time after seeing the huge effect that Jason’s work had on the community.
“This year I spoke to Port Vale and we all just got together. Our officers are out in the community and have nominated the families who they feel would benefit from some of the gifts.
“We let Jason know the age and if it’s a boy or a girl so the presents are suitable for them and it helps them enjoy their Christmas. We also have presents for isolated adults too.
“Along with accepting donations our officers have also been using their own money to buy presents.
“This has been a very challenging year and we are in for a very different Christmas but it’s important to support those vulnerable families in our community and try to bring some festive cheer.”
Pupils and staff at Sneyd Green’s Excel Academy have collected in around 150 presents which they handed over to local PCSO Lucy Slater. Stephanie Whitehurst, an attendance and family liaison officer at the secondary school, said: “We work closely with Staffordshire Police on a community level and got talking to Lucy who told us about the campaign.
“We have identified some families who need a little extra help this Christmas and have seen the impact cause by Covid-19. All the staff and pupils have really got behind this collection. It’s nice to see such Christmas spirit despite everything which has happened this year.”
Donations can be dropped off at the following locations:
Burslem Police Station, 6 Jackson Street, Burslem, every day, 8am until 10pm
SkinJase Tattoo Parlour, 83 Ford Green Road, Smallthorne, on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, 10am until midday
Port Vale Foundation, Hamil Road Stand – Gate D, Hamil Road, Burslem, Monday to Friday, between 8.30am and 4pm.