We're supporting local charities by taking part in Heart's Giving Tree campaign

We’re supporting local charities by taking part in Heart’s Giving Tree campaign

This year, Countryside is taking part in Heart’s Giving Tree campaign. Rather than participating in Secret Santa, Countryside staff are donating gifts to charities across Essex, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex.

The Giving Tree initiative allows members of the public to donate Christmas gifts to disadvantaged children and adults across the country. The trees are set up in key locations and decorated with tags that show an age and, sometimes, a name of a recipient.

Countryside has taken 50 tags from the Braintree Giving Tree and 70 tags from the Bluewater Giving Tree. Staff choose a tag and then buy an appropriate gift, which will be given to local charities to distribute.

At Bluewater Shopping Centre, the Giving Tree supports 37 local charities across Kent, Surrey and Sussex, largely focused on disadvantaged children. The charities supported include local hospitals, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, The Salvation Army, and Demelza House Children's Hospice, which provides specialist care and emotional support for children with terminal conditions and their loved ones.

The Giving Tree at Freeport in Braintree supports less fortunate people in Essex through local hospices and women’s refuges. The charities and organisations benefitting this year include Farleigh Hospice in Broomfield, J's Hospice in Chelmsford, St Clare Hospice, Tendring Women's Refuge and Home-Start Essex, a family support charity working across Essex, which provides emotional and practical help to parents and carers experiencing difficulties.

We are so pleased to be taking part in the Giving Tree campaign this Christmas. It is wonderful to know that the donated gifts will really make a difference to individual people at what can be a difficult time of year. At Countryside, we are always looking for ways to support and engage with the communities in which we work, and this initiative allows us to do just that.