Northumberland children asking for clean clothes and blankets for Christmas

  • Video report by Kris Jepson

Children in Northumberland are asking for clean clothes and blankets for Christmas as the rising cost of living hits rural communities.

The Percy Arms in Alnwick has hung up the children's present requests on their Christmas tree and is encouraging punters to make donations.

Amelia Thomson, marketing manager for the Inn Hospitality Group, which owns the pub, told ITV Tyne Tees: "The collection is really important because the cost of living has impacted everybody.

"It's important for us to do this as well because these children and families could be our neighbours, our friends, or people who come into the pub.

"In Northumberland, pubs are really the hub of our communities and so we felt we had to do this."

Oliver Barrett from The Percy Arms said the community response since the appeal launched has been amazing.

He said: "The response has been amazing really, from local customers, from staff who wanted to buy presents and from people who’ve seen it on our social media from further afield who have rang up asking if they can contribute.

"It's been really touching that it’s not been what you might expect people to want like toys or gifts, it’s been basic necessity items for a lot of people."

The appeal works by people taking home a tag from the tree and buying the gift written on it.

They are encouraged to wrap it up and stick the tag to the present before returning it to the pub and leaving it under the tree.

On allocated days, The Percy Arms drops off the gifts at Christmas for All - the Northumberland organisation working with the children and families who have made the requests.

Dan Wilkinson, one of two volunteers running Christmas for All, told ITV Tyne Tees: "Children are asking for stuff that you wouldn't expect them to be asking for.

"They're asking for blankets, warm clothes, and some have even asked if we can do food parcels."

The organisation supports families and children who have been referred by councils or social workers, or those who have reached out directly for help.

The Angler's Arms, just off the A697, and the Old Ship Inn, Seahouses, are also hanging donation requests on their Christmas trees. Credit: The Percy Arms

After seeing the pub's Facebook post about donations, a Seahouses laundry business has launched an 'Ask for Ivy' campaign.

The Laundry Lodge now allows anyone who cannot afford to wash their clothes to get them cleaned for free.

Owner Rachel Douglas told ITV Tyne Tees: "In this day and age it’s absolutely criminal that people can’t afford the basics of human rights, and basic human rights is clean clothes.

"I just thought, you know what, we can help these people. These people are with us. They’re in our community and we need to help our communities at these times."

The Angler's Arms, just off the A697, and the Old Ship Inn, Seahouses, are part of the Inn Hospitality Group and have their own donation trees.

Ms Thomson said the group will ensure any requests left by Christmas Eve will be fulfilled by the business.

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