A SUNDERLAND organisation has given a cash boost to a charity helping families in need this Christmas.

Rotary SR1 has handed a cheque for £2000 to the Connect Network, which will go towards its Christmas hamper appeal, enabling more families across the city centre to have a better festive season.

The Connect Network – a collective of Wearside churches, organisations, Sunderland City Council, schools and other agencies – holds a Christmas hamper appeal each year.

Churches across the city collect food and drink items which volunteers then make into hampers which are then handed out to families in need as identified by Sunderland Children’s Services.

But this year, more families than ever before are set to benefit thanks to Rotary SR1,   which supports projects to make a difference and give back to the local community, has donated the cash which will now enable Connect Network to make even more hampers.

Gemma Dishman, President of Rotary SR1, is happy that more families across the city will enjoy a merrier Christmas.

“We were determined to do something to support Connect Network’s hamper appeal this year because it’s such a fantastic cause,” she said. “For families in need, Christmas can be the worst time of the year for various reasons, and it is a time of year when people can feel at their lowest.

“Rotary SR1 wanted to do something to help those people in Sunderland who really need support at Christmas, and this appeal really struck a chord with a lot of us.

“We have donated £2000 which will help Connect Network make more hampers than initially planned, thus giving more families than ever something to smile about this Christmas.”

Deb Fozzard, Director of ConnectNetwork said that last year 90 families were helped and the donation from Rotary SR1 meant even more people could be supported this time round.

“We don’t always consider the emotional impact such gifts have on people but that was the feedback we received from children and family services, when many families said how valued the hampers made them feel,” she said.

“The very generous grant of £2000 from SR1 Rotary was a massive encouragement to us not only because they saw the value of the project but also because even more families are going to feel valued at Christmas. That in itself is a gift.”

For more information about Connect Network and the work it does to support people living in Sunderland, visit the website: www.connectnetwork.uk and for further information about Rotary SR1 visit: www.rotarysr1.co.uk.

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