Shoppers encouraged to help with appeal

Nick Lambert, new centre manager at The Forum Shopping Centre in Wallsend.
Nick Lambert, new centre manager at The Forum Shopping Centre in Wallsend.

A 6ft tall Christmas parcel is to be unveiled to encourage people to donate items and presents to homeless people.

The unique parcel will be unveiled at a special event in the middle of the Forum Shopping Centre, Wallsend, at 4pm, on Friday, November 20.

Carols will be sung by a homeless choir made up of members of national homeless charity Crisis’ Newcastle centre.

Shoppers can donate gifts, clothing or non-perishable food via a postbox-style slot on the side of the parcel in the run up to Christmas.

All gifts donated will go to Crisis, whose Skylight centre in Newcastle helps hundreds of homeless and vulnerable people throughout the year in Tyne and Wear.

The idea was the brainchild of the Forum manager Nick Lambert who, with the help of security manager Jeff Martin, hand-built the box.

He said: “We hope customers will join us this year in thinking of those less fortunate than ourselves, particularly those who are homeless and in need of help.”

“Crisis do so much to support homeless people in Tyne and Wear, so it’s a charity that’s very close to home.

“Any gifts our customers could donate would be so gratefully received and will go to a really worthwhile cause.”

Crisis Newcastle director, Andrew Burnip, said: “Christmas can be a lonely, isolating time for homeless people.

“3,719 households in the north east approached their council as homeless last year, all of whom deserve the shelter, companionship and support many of us take for granted at Christmas.

“By donating non-perishable food, gifts or clothing, shoppers at the Forum can help to make this a Christmas to remember for homeless people in Tyne and Wear.”