The founder of the Salford Santa Appeal campaign has set his sights on reaching one million pounds worth of donations by 2022, as the chance to donate to this year’s initiative closes next week.

The appeal, launched in Christmas 2018 by Unison Convenor Sam Barry, sees Salford refuse collectors pick up donated gifts by generous Salfordians along their bin route, before donating to various local charities.

Last year, in the campaign’s inception, over 5,000 gifts were donated amounting to more than £25,000 in estimated monetary value, with residents leaving their presents unwrapped on top of their dustbins ready for collection by binmen donning red high-vis jackets and Santa hats.

Once checked, the presents will then be passed on to charities including Women’s Aid, Wood Street Mission, Little Hulton Big Local and Revive.

Founder Barry said: “It wasn’t a one-time fix. We wanted to roll this out on an ongoing system.

“Last year, we did quite well – we had over five thousand gifts donated.

“On average that works out as over 5% of the population of Salford donating.

“This year, we’re hoping that if we can replicate that or even better that; if we can get an average of 10% for the population that’s an estimated value of £50,000 just from one city. I have stated previously and probably still going forward from this, over a five-year period the hope is to roll this across Greater Manchester.

“If we can get that target, if other councils around the region do the same, that’s a considerable amount of money. I suppose over a five-year period, I would be hoping to exceed a million pounds donated in gifts.”

Barry added: “We actually had the privilege of going to one of the Christmas parties for one of the charities and it was well received. It was quite emotional to see the smiles on the kids’ faces when we walked in as Father Christmas and his elf. We’ve seen some tears, it’s good to see smiles on kids’ faces at Christmas.

“I don’t believe it’s just me who feels passionate about underprivileged kids – there’s numerous amounts of charities out there, hence why we do this and why we help those charities.

“It’s not nice to see kids not happy, it’s not nice to see kids looking out and seeing other kids able to do stuff.

“The city of Salford itself; people haven’t got a lot, but to see the generosity that they’ve given last year and hopefully replicating this year, happiness goes a long way.”

Although the presents donated are gifted to mainly children, Barry underlined the fact that the campaign is a benefit to the parents too.

He said: “I suppose it’s not just for the children either, it’s for the parents as well.

“It’s nice to let the parents know there is support there – not all the time is it somebody in a suit criticising your parenting or criticising your way of life – it’s to show support and if anybody needs it, it’s there.”

Unite Convenor Tony Calderwood echoed Barry’s sentiment, noting: “It’s nice to see the looks on the kids’ faces when they’re getting something at Christmas, not only that, I took greater pleasure in seeing the relief on some of the parents’ faces when the pressure was taken off them and they knew that the kids would be getting gifts over the Christmas period.

“There’s always going to be people that will have to do without and if you can help those and give them a little bit of a lift, it’ll be a nice thing to do.”

Kim Taylor, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and left unable to provide presents for her daughter, took to Facebook to express her gratitude to the campaign, commenting:

Those who wish to donate still have until next Friday to donate presents for the Santa Appeal, and Barry insists that any gift will go a long way.

“It doesn’t have to be a lot. We’ve seen from last year it was anything from a selection box, a pair of gloves, a pair of socks – you’d be surprised how many kids at the minute are walking around with no socks on.

“Last year, some of the gifts that came in were quite pricey – we had scooters, bikes, and they were all brand new gifts bought by people of Salford.

“We’ve seen how far last year it can go; it was actually quite overwhelming the amount the charities got.

“I’d like to say they got more than they asked for and this year I’m hoping to get them more than they got last year.”

Barry concluded by encouraging neighbouring councils and people in a similar position to himself to follow his lead, as he targets spreading the campaign to a wider audience.

“As it’s proven over the two years, it only took one person to ask a question. All we can ask from a Salford based charity perspective is that the neighbouring councils [follow suit].

“All it takes is one person to ask that question to senior management or ask it in a meeting or ask it of your colleagues and it just goes to show how quick it can escalate and how quick it can get round Greater Manchester.”

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