Gifts donated by Bankside businesses and residents that will clothe, feed and support more than 600 homeless people and youngsters with special needs in SE1 were gift-wrapped last week through an initiative run by Better Bankside.
More than 150 metres of gift wrap were be used – enough to paper halfway up the Shard – as volunteers from Bankside businesses got wrapping and packaging.
Gifts will be delivered over the next two weeks by ZipCar for Business, Waterman Group and Adecco. They will hand deliver the presents to 11 projects in the area that are supporting homeless people and to children with special needs at Beormund Primary School.
Better Bankside made its annual request for gifts for the most vulnerable members of the community in November under the 'Together at Christmas' banner.
The organisation set up collection points around Bankside to enable residents and workers to securely deposit unwrapped items for collection over the last month.
People have responded enthusiastically to the request by donating hundreds of the most needed items, particularly new warm clothing, toiletries and food. As a result, more than 600 homeless or vulnerably-housed individuals are guaranteed to receive a useful gift for Christmas.
Charities supported by Together at Christmas include Look Ahead, which helps house young people in Bankside via a number of hostels in the area; the Robes Project that provides shelter and food; and the Manna Centre, which is the only drop-in day centre for homeless people in SE1. Older residents at Hopton's Almshouses and Lucy Brown House,will also receive gifts through the initiative.
"There has been an amazing response from Bankside workers and residents to Together at Christmas," said Danielle Cohen of Better Bankside.
"A record number of businesses hosted collection boxes and, I'm delighted to say, we will give more gifts than ever before to some of the most vulnerable individuals in Bankside.
"We are also hugely indebted to the support of Zipcar for Business for their logistical support. They are truly our Santas on wheels!"