Friday 20th December 2019 12:00
Generous Thames Water employees got in to the festive spirit as they donated hundreds of gifts to disadvantaged children for Christmas.
The “Giving Tree” appeal asked staff to buy presents for youngsters who would otherwise not receive anything this festive period.
Tags with requests were attached to a small tree in the company’s Reading headquarters and employees were encouraged to take one and spend about £15 to buy the corresponding gift.
They included a glow in the dark design kit, pencil cases, swimming goggles and even a large stuffed dolphin toy.
The appeal began last month and ran for three weeks, with a total of 130 presents being bought and donated to be handed out to children’s charities in the area.
Claire Iredale, Thames Water’s charities programme administrator, said: “Christmas can be a difficult time for people in need so I’m delighted that so many of our colleagues have donated presents.
“As a company we are always looking for ways to help the less fortunate and hopefully these gifts will give hundreds of children a happy festive period.
“We’d also encourage anyone who wants to support the scheme to donate money directly to the Giving Tree appeal by visiting www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/givingtree2019”
The Giving Tree initiative in Reading is run by Connect Reading and was first held in 1996. Last year, the appeal handed out more than 2,500 gifts to local children through 17 organisations and charities.
Managing director Kirsti Wilson said: “Everyone knows how hard things are for a lot of people this year. There are many families who struggle to survive day to day, let alone at Christmas.
“Reading as a town is incredibly giving and generous and every year, people do us proud with their thoughtfulness and giving spirit.
“We’re very grateful to the staff at Thames Water for taking time out over the festive period to think of those in need.”
Thames Water has also been collecting for Reading-based foodbank ReadiFood, which delivers more than 140 emergency food parcels every week to families and individuals across the town.
Employees donated boxes of chocolate, tinned vegetables and Christmas cakes, which were collected in a box before being delivered to the charity.
The food bank is run by Faith Christian Group and has provided a food parcel service in Reading for more than 25 years.
Thames Water also held its annual Christmas jumper day on Thursday, December 12, in aid of Save the Children, one day ahead of the national event.
Staff wore their most colourful and extravagant festive knitwear in exchange for a £2 donation to the charity.
Some also sang Christmas carols in the foyer of the company’s Clearwater Court office, with colleagues encouraged to donate to collection buckets.
The events raised more than £200.
Thames Water regularly takes part in charity fund-raisers and supports charitable projects across London and the Thames Valley through its Charities Committee.
To apply for charity support, visit https://corporate.thameswater.co.uk/about-us/community/working-in-our-communities/charitable-support/applying-for-support