A scheme which is providing vulnerable families and individuals in Thanet with gifts this Christmas has had hundreds of referrals.
Community Kindness Thanet, was set up by Thanet resident Sonia Knight in November 2020. Initially created to help just for the festive season it soon expanded to provide gifts throughout the year, from birthdays to Easter and more.
The scheme operates through referrals from schools, social services and Early Help workers to make sure those most in need are helped.
Last year there were some 337 referrals. This year there are already more than 650 and Sonia says she expects that figure “to climb much more.”
The Royal Harbour Academy learning mentor said: “I always knew this year was going to be big because of where things are financially for so many people.
“We have received a huge influx of referrals; the current figure stands at more than 650 people and schools and early help workers are still putting together lists.”
Community Kindness Thanet is ensuring that each child referred will receive five new gifts, including a selection box and a book, there will also be a small adult gift and a tub of chocolates for families to share.
Sonia, who lives in Margate with husband Doug, has a background in supporting vulnerable people but changed her job during lockdown to give her a better work/life balance and more time to run Community Kindness.
Sonia, 45, said: “We have a JustGiving page which is purely for anyone who wants to buy a family a tub of chocolates or a child’s selection box and then we have an Amazon wish list. There are also donation points at businesses across Thanet.”
Every donation goes directly to providing for those referred with the only extra cost being JustGiving fees. Sonia does not take a wage and pays for extras such as raffle tickets from her own pocket.
She said: “Everything goes to supporting people in our community.”
Donations of new toys and gifts can be made, with sensory toys especially welcome.
Donation collection points:
Westwood Asda, Birchington That Furniture Shop, Westgate The Classroom, Margate Eclipse Hair Stylist, Broadstairs The Chapel Bar and Bookshop, Ramsgate Wilko, Diamond Tattoo, Macies Bar, Lovetts Property Services, The Modern Boulangerie, Under 1 Roof Thanet and Herne Bay Hippodrome Play Centre