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Homeless charity is given a helping hand at Christmas

Chloe Henderson, Daniel Withers and Thomas Hackett sort out the donations of clothes which will be given to homeless people over Christmas

Caring Sunderland College students have been doing their bit to help homeless people over the Christmas period.

The group of business studies students have been busy fundraising for the Crisis at Christmas campaign as part of their BTEC studies.

They organised a day of fun activities for students and staff at the college’s Washington campus on Tuesday and invited special guest Omar Al-Janabi, a volunteer ambassador for Crisis, to speak about the work of the homeless charity.

Event organiser Chloe Henderson, 17, said: “We came up with this idea as we wanted to give something back to the public and we wanted to choose a charity that not many young people like us knew much about. After doing our research, we couldn’t believe how many homeless people there were in the region and we all wanted to help in any way we could.”

The group of 13 students created giant Christmas crackers filled with new clothes and packed gift boxes full of useful items such as underwear, socks, gloves and sweets.

These were sold on the day of the event and customers were given the chance to write personalised messages to be included in the crackers and presents, which will be handed out to homeless people at the Newcastle Crisis Christmas Day Meal.

The students also set up a clothes bank, with donations of new and second hand garments filling six bin bags, and they raised more than £150 for the charity through a range of activities including coffee and cake stalls and a ‘name the teddy’ competition.

Chloe, from New Sulgrave in Washington, added: “Everybody involved in organising the event felt very passionate about raising money for such a good cause. It has been amazing to be able to support Crisis and play a small part in giving homeless people a more comfortable Christmas. The work we have done for this event has made us realise how many basic things we take for granted, and we all feel very fortunate for what we have.”

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “Homelessness is a devastating and isolating experience. The average age of death for a homeless person is just 47. No one should face these dangers. But thanks to the dedication of our fundraisers, each year Crisis can help thousands of people to rebuild their lives. I want to say a huge thank you to the students at Sunderland College for helping end homelessness for good.”

Andrea Chalk, curriculum leader for business at Sunderland College, added: “We are very proud of our students for their thoughtfulness and entrepreneurship which will make a real difference to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“The students organised the activities as part of their course, and as well as helping a fantastic charity, they also developed a range of practical event management skills. The experience they gained will stand them in good stead for their careers in future, and is an important aspect of our business studies course.”

For more information about the college’s business courses, call 0191 511 6000, email info@sunderlandcollege.ac.uk or click here.

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