'Help make Christmas special for children in Sheffield who have fled domestic violence'

Francine Wright with (left to right) volunteer Jack Wright, Ian Lawrence from Safehouse Security & Training, and volunteer Kieren Roberts
Francine Wright with (left to right) volunteer Jack Wright, Ian Lawrence from Safehouse Security & Training, and volunteer Kieren Roberts
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No children who have fled domestic violence with their parents should wake up on Christmas Day without a present.

That's according to one Sheffield woman who has made it her mission to help bring much-needed festive cheer to youngsters who have endured such trauma.

Francine Wright has launched a fundraising drive to deliver gifts to all children across South Yorkshire whose parents have fled domestic violence and all those whose families are homeless and living in temporary accommodation.

The 37-year-old recently opened a community shop in Attercliffe to support those in need, including homeless people and anyone seeking refuge from domestic violence, by providing furniture and household goods they could not otherwise afford.

She is now appealing for people to donate gifts and money so she can ensure no youngsters go without a gift this Christmas.

"I think people would be surprised by how many children there are whose parents have fled domestic violence or who are living in temporary accommodation," she said.

"Many of these families can't even afford basic furniture and household goods, let alone Christmas presents.

"It's heartbreaking to think any of those youngsters might wake up on Christmas day without a present, and I'm determined to make sure that doesn't happen."

Francine, who opened Francine's Community Shop, on Attercliffe Road, this summer, is holding a fundraising evening at The Cross Keys pub in Handsworth on December 9, from 7pm.

Tickets for the northern soul and Motown night cost £5, and there will also be a raffle, with all money raised going to buy gifts for deprived youngsters.

Francine, who last Christmas went onto the streets of Sheffield to hand out food and clothing to homeless people, has appealed to businesses to donate presents or money for gifts, or to contribute items for the raffle.

One of the first to do so was Safehouse Security, which has donated a bumper crop of toys, and Francine said her parents Jack and Patricia had also made a great contribution.

Francine is seeking gifts of any kind for children from newborn babies to 16-year-olds.

You can drop off donations at the community shop, on the corner of Shirland Lane, or contact Francine with any offers through the Francine's Community Shop Facebook page or by calling her on 0757 2060 374. Tickets for the fundraising night can be booked via Francine's Facebook page.