The team from Specsavers in Lakeside were working overtime as Santa’s helpers this Christmas, as the local opticians have contributed towards Thurrock Council’s Give a Gift initiative.

Give a Gift

Each year, Thurrock Council erect a tree in the Lakeside Shopping Centre decorated with stars that have the names and ages of hundreds of children known to the council’s social work teams, who may not receive many, if any, presents. Customers are then invited to pick a star and donate a gift to the child selected.

However, due to the risks associated with the pandemic, this year’s Gift a Gift initiative moved solely online and doesn’t benefit from the usual footfall it receives in the shopping centre.

Dedicated to ensuring that Covid-19 doesn’t also spoil the most magical part of the festive season for children in need, the local opticians haven’t let any obstacles get in their way, donating over £500 worth of toys to the annual campaign.

A Christmas miracle

Fortunately, the team at Specsavers in Lakeside were full of enough Christmas spirit and still found a way to donate 38 toys to the campaign by getting in touch with Thurrock Council directly and organising a Covid-safe donation in bulk.

Jay Visrolia, Retail Director at Specsavers in Lakeside, said: ‘The Give a Gift initiative is an incredible campaign in any year and is vital in ensuring no one is forgotten over the festive season. But especially so this year.

Councillor James Halden, Cabinet Member for Children and Adult Social Care, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted with Specsavers’ generous donation of more than 320 presents for our Give a Gift initiative.

Thank you to Specsavers and the many other residents and local businesses who have donated and supported this special project.’

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