Growbaby go: Christmas cheer for vulnerable children in Kingston thanks to charity campaign

Surrey Comet: Volunteers from the Growbaby campaign pack gifts for vulnerable children in Kingston Volunteers from the Growbaby campaign pack gifts for vulnerable children in Kingston

More than 800 vulnerable children from Kingston will be given Christmas presents this year thanks to generous well-wishers in the borough.

For the past seven years the Growbaby campaign has been helping the borough’s most in need children by making them feel special on Christmas day with a gift especially picked for them.

This year social workers, police officers, midwives, support workers and other community members nominated 836 vulnerable children that could do with a Christmas cheer.

Noni Farrelly who heads up the campaign as part of the Kingston Vineyard project, a church group based in The Hub in Surbiton Road, described how it worked.

She said: “These children are vulnerable so they are completely anonymous.

“You get a slip of paper that might say JJ is a sixteen-year-old boy with special needs who loves Thomas the Tank Engine and you would go out and buy something for that boy.

“My first thought is this is a little person who is in need and we can do something. I find the fact that we have children in need quite painful. My heart just breaks.

“That’s the myth about Kingston – that we don’t have any poverty. It is difficult because if you look at us we are a wealthy borough but then we are in the depravation indices so there is a problem.”

Surrey Comet:

Noni Farrelly, who heads up the campaign as part of the Kingston Vineyard project

With children from Epsom College volunteering to buy brand new presents for the children, Mrs Farrelly said she believed up to £15,000 in total had been spent on the handpicked gifts, including teddy bears, art kits, mini scooters, make-up, games consoles and jewellery.

She said: “You can tell that the children who have done the shopping have put a lot of thought into it. It is really sweet.”

Surrey Comet:

Saskia Van Dalen and Clara Clement wrap presents for the vulnerable children

Jo Keogh, who heads up Kingston’s One Stop Shop for victims of domestic violence, nominates a group of up 25 children every year.

She said: “I know most of these children and they have gone through a lot. The work I do in domestic violence is hard and laborious but at times like this you can sit down with people and give them a gift and say – someone is thinking about you and your children.

“It is quite rewarding.”

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