VULNERABLE children and families will benefit from hundreds of gifts donated by Liverpool City Council staff this Christmas. Workers demonstrated their commitment to fundraising with a Christmas appeal, donating hand-picked gifts to Liverpool Homeless Football Club, the Salvation Army and young adults who are leaving the care system. The gift appeal is the final fundraising effort of the year for staff, and is organised by ‘Charity Champion’ team members who voluntarily organise fundraising events throughout the year in addition to their work duties. The charities will hand out the gifts to vulnerable children and families across the city over the Christmas period. They include household essentials, beauty products and children’s clothes and toys. Liverpool City Council Chief Executive Ged Fitzgerald said: “These gifts will mean so much to those children and families who are less fortunate, especially at Christmas, and I’m proud that once again Liverpool City Council staff have been so generous, going above and beyond for our charities. They really are a credit to us.” ‘Charity Champion’ Clare Maher, said: “It’s so rewarding to know that on Christmas Day families across Merseyside will have extra gifts to open and that young people setting up home for the first time have some essential items thanks to the generosity of our staff. “This has been our most successful year to date and I can’t wait to be involved in next year’s appeal hopefully making it bigger and better.” Michael Binns, who works with young people in care, said the gift appeal will help a lot: “Most care leavers move into their own accommodation once they turn 18, and receive a one off allowance of £2,000 to help them buy essentials such as furniture, but it doesn’t go very far and if you have to be rehomed for whatever reason you won’t be given the same allowance again.” The gift appeal is just one of many fundraising efforts undertaken by staff so far this year. They have also raised £7437.71 for their two corporate charities: the Whitechapel Centre which supports the homeless and Claire House Children’s Hospice in Wirral. Of the money raised, £3393.33 will go to the Whitechapel Centre and £4044.58 to Claire House. In an added effort, they also raised £398.14 for the Nepal Earthquake Appeal in the wake of the disaster this year. A total of 17 ‘Charity Champions’ have co-ordinated activities such as a sleep-out at Everton FC, bake sales, dress down days and raffles. Other fundraising events have included a catwalk show, Mayor’s Dinner charity auction and ping pong tournament. Chief Executive, Ged Fitzgerald and his senior management team also took part in the Santa Dash.