WHITEROCK Children’s Centre, which organises an annual Christmas appeal helping to collect toys and raise money for local families in the run up to Christmas, fear this year’s appeal will struggle to reach its target due to the unprecedented number of families who have contacted the centre for help.

Deirdre Walsh, Director of Whiterock Children’s Centre, said she is becoming increasingly concerned as people who have supported them in the past with donations, are no longer able to and are now asking for help themselves.

With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to affect society and as cases rise there have been fears of another potential lockdown, which the centre fears could have a catastrophic effect on their ability to operate in the run-up to Christmas. She said the real worry is that if schools have to close again – and with the latest figures showing almost 1,100 teachers across the North having to take time off due to contracting Covid – it could put a massive strain on working families who may have to take time off in order to provide childcare.

Deirdre said: “Last year there was almost a surplus of toys, and help, but so far this year we have been really struggling. I’m not at all in awe of things when I begin to think about what’s in store for next year.

"We have also been providing families with food, gas and electric vouchers and a growing number of families are depending on us helping them and that is really scary if we don’t get the stuff in.

"I just hope that we don’t have to go into lockdown again for the impact on the poorest families is going to be unimaginable.”

If you wish to donate to the Whiterock Children’s Centre, please contact either Maura or Noleen on 02890438438 or make a donation through their Go Fund Me page here