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Spread cheer to disadvantaged children this Christmas

Local housebuilders will be accepting your donations of shoeboxes filled with gifts

It’s not even Bonfire Night and already we are using the C-word… Christmas, that is. But, if we don’t start telling you about this now, it might be too late for you to add your help.

Housebuilders Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes are once again supporting Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child shoebox campaign. The housebuilders are opening the doors to five of their Kent developments (for list scroll to end of the story) to act as drop-off points for donations. Residents and members of the local community will be invited to drop-off their packed shoeboxes between November 15-22.

The Operation Christmas Child campaign sees local communities pack shoeboxes with gifts for deprived children located all across the world. The shoeboxes are donated, processed and shipped to vulnerable children aged between two and 14 worldwide, with contents including, but not limited to, toys, puzzles and essential school supplies. The charity has helped spread festive cheer to more than 178 million children in more than 150 countries since the campaign began in 1990. 

Nick Cole, director of Operation Christmas Child UK says: “Last year despite the challenges of the pandemic, our generous supporters in the UK and worldwide combined with resourceful, determined partners overseas to deliver more than nine million shoeboxes, bringing joy and hope to children in a time of discouragement. Where necessary, our partners went door-to-door or gathered children in household ‘bubbles’ to give out boxes safely.

“We would like to thank the many schools, businesses and individuals who have contributed to the campaign already, and we now look forward to collecting these gifts and delivering them quickly and of course safely to ensure these children can have a Christmas they deserve.”

Natalie Perry, sales and marketing director for both Barratt Kent and David Wilson Homes, adds: “We are really pleased to support this initiative again after the success of our previous collections. Covid-19 has put a great strain on families’ finances both locally and abroad, and this campaign is committed to supporting children who have been affected by poverty.”

Anyone who would like to drop off a shoe box will need to follow the following steps:

  • Get an empty medium sized shoebox and wrap the lid and box separately in festive wrapping paper. Select the gender and age category: 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14 for your gift recipient, and download and attach the label to the top of your shoebox.
  • Fill the box with suitable gifts, including stuffed animals or toys, school supplies, hygiene items or clothing – further gift suggestions can be found on the website: www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/what-goes-in-my-shoebox/
  • Please note that due to more stringent import regulations, food items, lotions, liquids and toothpaste cannot be included alongside religious or political literature, medicines and aerosol cans. For further information about prohibited items please visit their website.
  • Make a donation of £5 towards collection, processing, shipping and training of Local Churches & Project Materials to inspect and distribute the shoe boxes.
  • Print off a barcode (you will receive this once you have made a donation) and place in the shoe box.
  • Place a rubber band around the box and drop it off at one of the sales and marketing suites listed here (in no set order):

Richmond Park in Whitfield, Dover (Barratts).Barratt Kent is building new homes at its Richmond Park development in Whitfield, where prices start from £309,995 for a three-bedroom home.

Aylesham Village Sales and Marketing Suite on Dorman Avenue North (Barratts). Barratt Kent is building new homes at the development in Aylesham, but all homes from the latest phase are now sold out.

Chilmington Green on Hedgers Way, Ashford (Barratts). Currently available is a range of three- and four-bedroom properties, starting at £474,995 for a three-bedroom home.

The above three sales and marketing suites are open seven days a week, Monday – Sunday 10:00am – 5.30pm.

Dickens Gate on Marden Road, Staplehurst (David Wilson). Currently available at David Wilson Homes’ Dickens Gate development are a range of three- and four-bedroom homes, with prices starting from £384,995 for a three-bedroom property.

Perry Court on Brogdale Road in Faversham. Currently available are a range of three and four-bedroom homes, with prices starting from £364,995 for a three-bedroom property.

Dickens Gate and Perry Court are open seven days a week, Monday 12:30pm – 17:30pm, Tuesday- Sunday 10:00am – 5.30pm.

For further details about Operation Christmas Child and how to pack a shoe box, visit www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child.

For further details about Barratt Kent visit www.barratthomes.co.uk or call 0333 355 8502. For more about David Wilson Kent visit www.dwh.co.uk or call 0333 3558 502.

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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