Wales

Christmas: Parents' worry over cost of presents

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Media caption"They wake up with a smile not tears"

A charity supplying Christmas gifts to disadvantaged families said parents get very worried about being able to afford presents for their children.

Superkids North Wales gives presents to children who have been referred to them by charities or local services.

In 2018, more than 1,600 children were helped by the provision.

Founder and trustee Margaret Williams said there had been parents "literally suicidal with worry" and demand for the service was huge.

She said the charity functions "almost like a food bank", alleviating stress on people in precarious situations.

"There are people literally suicidal with worry, and we do a lot of work with people in mental health situations," she said.

"Again, if you have mental health problems, the additional stress of having to worry about Christmas is one problem too far."

Image caption Margaret Williams described the service as "almost like a food bank"

Demand has risen year-on-year since the charity was founded in 1999.

"Every year there is an increase," she said.

"I don't know whether the need has risen or if we're more and more known.

"I honestly don't know but I tend to think it's circumstances out there, especially with universal credit. That is really a big killer."

Family support charity Home-Start gets presents from Superkids to help vulnerable families.

"Sometimes when we arrive at the door with the sack, they just smile," said Bethan Williams, who works for the Denbighshire charity.

"And the families sometimes go from week to week with very little to smile about."

Image caption Bethan Williams works for the charity and appealed for donations

Earlier in December, Ms Williams appealed for donations so Superkids could keep up with this year's demand.

The response, she said, has been "phenomenal", and the team have been "blown away by the generosity."

The charity will keep working until the very last moment to make sure every child and young person has something under their tree on Christmas morning.

"It's a case of keep going, keep going," Ms Williams said.

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