The campaign was started a few years ago by Natalie Styles-Hudson, Lead Nurse for Safeguarding People at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Peterborough City, Hinchingbrooke and Stamford and Rutland Hospitals.
The Giving Tree appeal asks staff at the hospitals and members of the public to buy gifts for children of different ages. The presents are picked from an Amazon wish list and are then delivered to Natalie, who distributes the gifts, with the help of other key workers.
Natalie said: “Covid has hit everyone hard but some families have fallen on extreme financial hardship and are struggling to feed their children, let alone give them a Christmas present.
“I organise the Giving Tree each year for children and families living in poverty. I have been blown away by the generosity of people donating this year. As well as the Amazon gift list I have been given individual donations, company donations and a Just Giving page raised £1,000 to buy gifts for harder-to-buy for age groups.
“Unison, the public service union, spent all of the money that they would normally spend on conferences and hospitality and they bought over £3,000-worth of gifts.”
This year the presents were distributed to a wide group of children covering Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, this includes:
• four Hostels for 16-25 yearr-olds
• Three different woman’s refuges
• Families living in temporary accommodation
• Families currently under Police protection
• Independent Domestic Violence Advocates working with families and children who have suffered domestic abuse
• Food bank referrals
• Vulnerable children in local schools across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire
• Children referred through by children’s social care
• Families who attend the ‘Grub Hub’ in Huntingdon
Natalie added: “I would say a huge thank you to everyone who donated or supported the campaign by helping collect and wrap the presents.”