Hartlepool Giving Tree Goes Viral, Raising Over 160,000 Christmas Gifts For UK Children

Hartlepool Giving Tree, an online platform where people pledge to donate a Christmas gift for a child or young adult, many of whom have escaped domestic abuse, has raised over 160,000 gifts, and counting.

The Giving Tree, which is held at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, ‘organises a Giving Tree every year in order to support the local charities in Hartlepool.’

Due to the pandemic, the organisation decided to move the campaign online. According to Middleton Grange, the campaign originally expected for ‘1,500 gifts to be donated. Just 10 days later, this total sits at 104,829.’

The charity organisation has raised so many gifts this Christmas, that they are now working the charities across the UK to provide for less fortunate children.

Generous people select a ‘tag’ from the website, where the are told what a child – who has fled their home, and left their possessions behind – would like for Christmas.

The volunteers at The Giving Tree then match the item with children across the UK by ‘liaising with organisations and charities they are working with.’

Mark Rycraft, the founder of the organisation said, “We have been blown away by the success of this campaign, and we are incredibly grateful that the town, the country, and, it seems, the world has come together to support these amazing charities.”

“The Giving Tree is a campaign that allows us to work together as one,” Rycraft went on, “to alleviate the stress our fellow neighbours may have on their shoulders – and in a year as difficult as this one has been, this has never been more important.”

The scheme for 2020 has been so big, that the charity has seen donations from as far reaching as the US.

Hartlepool Carers, a community created to improve the lives of carers in Hartlepool and the surrounding areas, work in partnership with The Giving Tree. Tell Me About It spoke to Jenni, an IAG worker at Hartlepool Carers, asking why this scheme is so important.

“Every single one of our young carers will get at least one present – probably more…We’ve contacted a few charities and schools as Hartlepool Carers and Harbour, the women’s refuge charity who the Giving Tree were originally working alongside, now have more than enough for those who need it.”

“We’ll prioritise the families we know who struggle the most,” Jenni added. “We have three warehouses full of donations, with Amazon continuing to deliver daily. Some of our workers will go through the donations, and then staff will do the deliveries.”

“It’s a bit of a mission as we only have two weeks to do it, with 8 staff members, but it’s so worthwhile.”

Tell Me About It spoke to Emily Fellows, 22, a nursery nurse who donated to two children. “This could be their first Christmas not living at home, Covid has made Christmas hard enough as it is let alone for these families.”

“Some of the children are too young to understand,” Fellows added.

Tell Me About It also spoke to Annika Wile, who donated a to a Girl, 4 years old, who’d asked for a ‘Trolls’ gift from Santa. “It is not just giving a child a gift, but it’s giving them hope that someone out there does care about them.”

“It will give them a sense of belonging and kindness that should always be shown, and it’s even more important at Christmastime, Wile added. “It’s really amazing to know how many lives will be benefitted by the tree.”

The Hartlepool Giving Tree is still accepting donations for children by visiting their website, selecting a tag, and sending your gift to the address provided.

Let’s see if we can make it to 200,000!

What do you think about this campaign? Have you donated this Christmastime? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

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