Free Blackburn 'toy store' for needy families

This Is Lancashire: David Podmore, pastor of Blackburn Vineyard Church, at the ‘toy shop’ with volunteer Helen Dray David Podmore, pastor of Blackburn Vineyard Church, at the ‘toy shop’ with volunteer Helen Dray

BLACKBURN foodbank has teamed up with a new local charity that hopes to help people in need provide presents for their fam-ily this Christmas.

The Blackburn Vineyard Church began collecting second- hand donations for their Children’s Storehouse during the summer, and soon found it had a good supply of quality baby equipment, such as prams, furniture, clothes, toys, and games, which were then given free to referred needy families.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has given the charity new premises, in Red Rose Court, so the Children’s Storehouse can set up a shop close to town so disadvantaged families can enjoy a toy store-style experience when they are referred.

Coun Phil Riley, who helped find the new site, said: “The Child- ren’s Storehouse is yet another wonderful example of the gen-erosity of spirit and desire to help people less fortunate present in different places and org-anisations all over Blackburn.”

David Podmore, pastor of Blackburn Vineyard Church, said: “We quickly realised there was an enormous need for children and baby supplies in our local area and it is wonderful to be able to provide families with toys over Christmas.

“People are referred to us by health professionals, children’s and social services, in much the same way that people are referred to a foodbank, and the foodbank provides referrals too.”

Ros Duerden, of Blackburn Foodbank, in Brunswick Street, said: “We are seeing mums and dads really upset because they think they won’t be able to give their children the Christmas they deserve. It’s wonderful to be able to refer them to the toy store, but they will be busy.

“They had over 20 referrals in their first day which decimated their supplies.

“The Foodbank has also been extremely busy. We recorded our busiest day ever on Friday when we fed over 102 people.

“This time of year is very difficult for families and I can only see us getting busier. ”

To offer a donation, call 01254 423912.

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