A Blackburn based community interest company is appealing for donations to help build a giant Teddy Bear Mountain for vulnerable children this Christmas.
The group, which is called Secret Santa, is planning to distribute the teddies in 1000 sacks of gifts to the most disadvantaged families in Blackburn, Darwen and surrounding areas in time for Christmas Day.
Each sack contains seven gifts and the recipients would otherwise receive nothing on Christmas morning.
It is hoped that the mountain, which is currently growing in the window of the Secret Santa shop in The Mall Blackburn, will contain enough to ensure each child gets a bear.
It is the first time Secret Santa has had a store after management at The Mall donated a unit to them during the busiest time of the year!
Phil Boulding set up Secret Santa with his wife Karen in 2017 after deciding to give something back to the community in which he has lived and worked all his life.
He said: “We were absolutely over the moon when The Mall said we could set up shop to raise more awareness and money for our cause.
“With a little help from our friends and supporters we have transformed it into a winter wonderland selling lots of new and pre-loved items and we can also use it as a drop off point for people to donate.
“The store front has been used to create our Teddy Bear Mountain, as we want to make sure that each of our sacks of gifts contains one bear.
“Every child needs a teddy, they are with you through thick and thin through your childhood – and I want to make sure everyone has the chance to own one!”
Loraine Jones, General Manager of The Mall Blackburn, added: “Phil and Karen have done such amazing work in the area in the last two years and we wanted to help them spread their message and festive cheer even further in 2019!
“The Teddy Bear Mountain is a wonderful idea and we want to do everything we can to make sure that each sack contains a teddy.
“The shop looks brilliant and there are lots of quality bargains to be had!”
Secret Santa is located on King William Street under the clock Tower at The Mall and is open seven days a week for people to drop off donations.
The group operates all year and supports disadvantaged families and individuals across the area on a number of initiatives. Since its inception it has distributed more than 2300 sacks of gifts. It also collects for Eid and other festivals and holds parties for lonely members of the community.
To donate a teddy, or any other items, please visit the shop. For more information about other ways to support Secret Santa visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SecretSantaLtd/