Connect Group PLC and Smiths News bring Christmas joy to local children

Monday 15th December 2014

Last Friday employees from Connect Group PLC and Smiths News took ‘Secret Santa’ to a new level by donating presents to Hop Skip & Jump, a local children’s charity which provides immediate and flexible respite care and support to disadvantaged children.

Christmas can be a particularly tough time for these children, who have life limiting illnesses, learning disabilities and special educational needs (SEN). The centre provides day and evening respite care, 7 days a week.

In total over 60 presents were bought by staff as an alternative to the well-known ‘Secret Santa’ – instead of buying gifts for each other they bought presents for the children who use the respite centre, aged between 7-13 years. And Smiths News also donated three boxes of children’s books from their Pass My Parcel business.

Lisa Lynn and Laura Smith delivered the presents on Friday – just in time for Hop Skip & Jump’s Christmas Party, where Santa made a special visit to give out all the gifts.

The centre is run by Sonia Osbourne, and she was delighted with the donation:

“We are a respite day care centre for children with a wide range of disabilities and additional needs. Our centre also gives parents respite so that they can do the things they need to whilst providing a safe environment for their children. We are so grateful for the donation and would like to thank Smiths News for their generosity – the children and staff were overwhelmed.”

Hop Skip & Jump also have a new ‘drop off’ facility in the town centre that provides a two hour stay for children, so parents can have some time to themselves.

The donation of gifts ties in well with Connect Group’s company-wide community programme ‘Community Link-Up’, where staff are supported in any charity or volunteering activity they wish to take part in. So far the programme has raised over £400,000 for national and local charities since it began in 2011.

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