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Staff and representatives from the charities posing with Christmas gifts donated to the appeal

Our students and staff are helping to make Christmas wishes come true for local families, by donating hundreds of gifts and raising over £600 for local charities, through the annual Christmas Wish Tree campaign.

This year’s appeal worked with three local charities, chosen by representatives of Durham Students’ Union:

· County Durham Foodbank, Durham Christian Partnership, providing emergency food and support for local people in crisis.

 · Gilesgate and Belmont Wellbeing Project, supporting children and families who are struggling due to poverty in Gilesgate, Carrville and Belmont.

· St Cuthbert’s Hospice, providing specialist care and support to people with life-limiting illnesses.

Each charity provided a wish list of items and gift tags for each gift were hung on the Christmas Wish Tree in Bill Bryson Library. Students and staff were invited to pick a tag and buy the gift written on the tag, returning it underneath the tree ready for the charities to collect.

This year, there was also the option to make an online monetary donation to the Christmas Wish Tree, in lieu of a gift. The gifts and funds donated will allow all the charities to provide much needed support to their service users throughout the festive season.

We were delighted to welcome representatives from each of the charities to Bill Bryson Library to collect the donations, presented by Professor Claire O’Malley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global).

Christine Fletcher, from Gilesgate and Belmont Wellbeing Project explained; “We are delighted to accept so many generous gifts and are looking forward to sharing them with our service users. A small gift can really make a difference to a someone’s Christmas and help us to help families, at what can be a difficult time of year.”

Natalie Costello, Senior Manager: Administration and Finance, who helped to organise the collections said: “We are so thankful to everyone who contributed to our Christmas Wish Tree campaign - the result is amazing and shows the generosity of our students and staff, which will benefit our local community.”

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