Vulnerable youngsters benefit from Met’s present campaign

Police cadets at Stoke Newington station wrap up the presents

Police cadets at Stoke Newington station wrap up the presents - Credit: Archant

Over 200 vulnerable youngsters are set to receive gifts in Hackney as part of a Met Police campaign to deliver a gift to every child this Christmas.

The scheme focuses on children from backgrounds of domestic violence, in foster care or part of families with very low incomes.

Over 9000 gifts have been donated by residents in London to The Christmas Tree Project, now in its second year.

As well as spreading Christmas cheer to children who might not otherwise receive presents, the project is also a good way of bridging the gap between children and the police.

PC Nick Oliver from Shoreditch said: “For some of them, the only time they would have met us is when we took away their parents.

“We want them to feel they can approach us at any time, and that we don’t just deal with bad people” he explained.

“We go along, dress up as Santa and make a bit of an event about it. The kids often run up to me and hold onto my legs. They love it.”

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He continued: “We’ve received some brilliant gifts, from action figures, to little cars to skateboards.

“We suggested a maximum spend of £20 but some people have clearly spent a lot more.”

Residents are encouraged to sign up online, where they are allocated a child and then find a suitable toy.

Some residents have given donations instead of gifts, and then the police have used the money to buy toys from Toys “R” Us.

The presents are wrapped by cadets before being distributed to children by PC Oliver and his team.