THE Farepak Family Response Fund is staying open for an extra five days because there's not enough money in the pot yet.

The fund, which was backed by the Government following a Westminster debate on the crisis earlier this month, will be shared among the thousands of families who lost money when the Westlea firm went bust in October.

South Swindon MP, Anne Snelgrove, is calling on businesses who have not yet pledged cash to do so.

Her plea comes as RWE npower has donated £3,000 for families in the town.

Mrs Snelgrove asked the Prime Minister during questions yesterday to put pressure on big businesses to put their hands in their pockets.

Today she will meet with MPs to discuss the way forward for Farepak customers.

"I am asking other major retailers to get on the list today. We need to make sure Farepak customers and the general public know who has contributed and who has been a Scrooge this Christmas."

Yesterday the total amount of money pledged to the fund, which now will close next Wednesday, was £4,785,000.

Mrs Snelgrove says at least £10m is needed to be able to give the victims a decent amount of cash.

But in spite of this, customers in Swindon have been thrilled by the generosity shown by RWE npower.

The company, which has offices in Whitehill Way, has donated £3,000, which is going to be used to buy Toys R Us vouchers, which will be shared among the Swindon victims.

"That is just brilliant, said Vicky Turner, 33, of Frobisher Drive, who has three children and lost £840 when the firm collapsed last month.

"That's really great because we will be able to use the vouchers to buy our children presents."

She added: "I'm upset that there's not more money in the family fund but hopefully more will still come in."

Leigh Reedman, 36, of Gorse Hill, who has two children and three stepchildren and lost £1,000, said: "I'm really glad this is a Swindon donation, it's great."

She added: "I can't believe some of the big businesses haven't donated to the fund yet because when you think how much money we've spent in their shops with our Christmas vouchers over the years it must have been loads."

Alison Butler, 38, of Park South, who has two daughters, Kayleigh, 10, and Chloe, 7, lost £500 and a £50 gift. She said: "Getting these vouchers will be a real help because it means we will be able to actually buy something for our children."

She added: "It's the kids who have been hit with this because it's them who will not get any presents.

"I think it would be really nice to organise some sort of kids' party for them so if anyone could provide a venue and disco that would be great."

If you can make this party happen email To register for the Toys R Us vouchers call 01793 615444. The closing date will be Friday, December 1. People will need to prove they were Farepak customers when they collect the vouchers.

Who has already given?

The following companies have paid into the Family Response Fund: Argos, Alliance and Leicester, Asda, Boots, Business Performance Company, Barclays Bank, Co-op, Debenhams, Findel, Halfords, HBOS, HMV/Waterstones, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Park Foods, PKF, Ryman, the stationers, Tesco, WHSmith, Woolworths.

The following companies have not made a donation: AB Food, Arcadia, Cadbury Schweppes, Kingfisher, Next, Pearson, Sainsbury's, Vodafone.

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