CHRISTMAS joy is being sparked in the lives of vulnerable children thanks to the efforts of women who have gathered hundreds of gifts.

Jade Turner and Julie Lowe have been working during the build up to the festive period collecting presents for families who can’t afford any this year.

“I spoke to my nan, who works for Sure Start Children’s Centre in Swindon, about a child who had said to her they would be happy just to get a chocolate lollipop on Christmas morning,” Jade told the Adver.

“That took my breath away because it made me realise people do take things for granted, including myself and my younger siblings.

“It’s been a tough year this year with coronavirus so I imagine the people who were struggling before are struggling even more now, so I wanted to do something good to help them.

“I’m so grateful to everyone, especially Deannamarie Ali, who has been collecting and giving donations.”

Toys were gathered together and popped inside gift bags to take to the centre so they were all ready for children on Christmas morning.

Her grandmother, Susan Middleton, who has worked for Sure Start for 14 years, teamed up with Jade to make it happen.

Their efforts will help 50 families - a 25 per cent increase on last year’s number.

Susan said: “This year everything is on hold because of the pandemic, I told Jade, her idea is really lovely because we usually have businesses who donate.

“But that’s not really gone to plan because of Covid.

“The families that we work with are on the edge of going into care, we work with them to prevent that from happening.

“At a time like this there’s going to be a lot more families struggling, it might be because a parent has lost a job or even both of them.

“If we can just take that pressure off of them to buy presents and prevent them from into debt that would be good.

“It also helps the children not feel segregated from others.

“I’m really proud of Jade, people think young people don’t want to help but there’s a surprising amount who do.”

Julie, who started collecting only a few weeks ago, has given out more than 170 presents to social services and other charities such as Helping Victims of Domestic Violence in Wiltshire.

She said: “It just feels great to help someone else and make some children smile, that’s what Christmas is all about.”

Present donations can be made by contacting Jade Turner on Facebook.