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Schofield Sweeney supports Secret Santa Appeal

A CHARITABLE appeal that sees thousands of gifts donated to disadvantaged families and children across the Bradford district is set to begin today.

The Bradford Junior Chamber International (JCI) Secret Santa Appeal - sponsored by The Kirkgate Shopping Centre - is one of the biggest appeals of its kind in the country and will run until Sunday, December 10.

The project, now in its 28th year, has enjoyed huge success thanks to the generosity of local people, schools and businesses, and numerous ‘mini-appeals’ are already in full swing across the district.

Organisers estimate that more than 100,000 gifts have been donated to deprived children who otherwise wouldn’t have received a present on Christmas Day since the appeal started in 1989, with a record-breaking 5,225 gifts collected last year.

Those behind the 2017 campaign are hopeful of pushing towards the 6,000 gift mark this time around.

Michelle Pemberton, JCI Bradford’s community director, said: “We have been working really closely with hundreds of local businesses who have all backed our campaign in the past, and have a number of new supporters on board this year too. Everyone is so happy to help, it’s incredibly heartening.

“It’s so saddening that so many people within our communities are living in such poverty. Christmas for most of us is a time for joy, presents, food, and spending time with our loved ones, but there are so many people who are living in such harrowing circumstances, and for them it’s simply another day of struggles.

“Our appeal reaches those in real need and gives them something to look forward to at Christmas. We can’t thank everyone enough who buys a gift, donates their time, and generally helps promote the appeal. People never seem to tire of giving and that is incredibly comforting to see.”

Jessica Fielden and Lauren Midgley, JCI Bradford members and solicitors at Schofield Sweeney, said: "The appeal is something that Bradford and Yorkshire, as a community, should be extremely proud of.