Family Appeal to Benefit from 'Double Decker' Support

published on 20 Nov 2018

The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul (SVP) have launched their Christmas Family Appeal. 

The campaign runs until December 18 and is aimed at ensuring disadvantaged children in Northern Ireland have a present to open on Christmas morning. The charities were joined by Translink and U105 who announced their continued support through the Stuff A Bus initiative, which last year exceeded its target of 10,000 donations.

Now back for its second year, the organisations are calling on people’s support to stuff a double decker with 15,000 toys and gifts.

Translink has increased drop off points with collection bins in 15 bus and train stations, while Gordon’s Chemists and Tesco stores across the province are supporting the initiative by placing collection trolleys for the appeal in stores.  Donations can also, for the first time, be left at the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre in the city centre.

Through last year's Family Appeal more than 50,000 gifts were distributed to families in need locally. The Salvation Army and SVP are hoping that this year’s annual festive appeal, now in its 39th year, will be the biggest ever, helping even more people in need this Christmas.

Speaking at the launch, Major Paul Kingscott, the Salvation Army’s divisional leader, said: “As a church and charity, we are inspired by the Christmas message to reach out to people in need.  The Family Appeal allows us to help thousands of children and young people in Northern Ireland.

“Our team of volunteers will be working hard to make sure the generous gifts we receive go to families who might otherwise go without. It’s a special campaign and we are delighted to have the continued support of Translink and U105.”

Archie Kinney, Regional Vice President for St Vincent de Paul, said: “The effects of poverty don’t stop just because it’s Christmas, they endure throughout the year.  This Appeal means so much to the families and groups who receive our donations of gifts as they are seeing smiles on little ones’ faces on Christmas Day rather than tears and anguish, which is felt ten-fold by the parents who are unable to provide for their children."

Ian Campbell, acting director of Service Operations at Translink, said: “We are pleased to be here today to launch the Stuff A Bus Toy Appeal in aid of two fantastic charities.  We’re very proud of the initiative and we believe it is a wonderful way to act in the true spirit of Christmas and give a little something back to disadvantaged children and young people who live here."

Gift donations for children aged from newborn to 16 years are welcome at all SVP and Salvation Army locations as well as in Tesco stores, Gordons Chemists, Visit Belfast Welcome Centre and at the following Translink bus and rail stations:

  • Antrim Bus Station
  • Armagh Bus Station
  • Banbridge Bus Station
  • Bangor Train Station
  • Carrick Bus Station
  • Coleraine Bus Station
  • Derry Foyle Street Bus Station
  • Downpatrick Bus Station
  • Dungannon Bus Station
  • Enniskillen Bus Station
  • Europa Bus Station
  • Lanyon Place Station
  • Lisburn Bus Station
  • Newry Bus Station
  • Omagh Bus Station

All gifts must be new and unwrapped and the Appeal would especially welcome donations for older boys and girls; such as gift vouchers, board games, selection boxes, and toiletries.