A SALON is putting the true meaning back into Christmas by holding a reverse advent calendar and collecting items for the homeless.
Throughout November and December, Tufties Hair and Beauty, in Newchurch Road, Rawtenstall, will be asking people to think about others.
Owner Victoria Jones said: “If people want to collect 24 different items for the homeless that would be great, but we will be very pleased with any donations we receive.
“The idea started when I was discussing with Dena Payne, who works for The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, about organising a charitable event and she suggested the reverse advent calendar idea.
“The staff are really enthusiastic about it and I will be going to many businesses in Rawtenstall to ask for a present to go to a young person or teenage family being helped by the M3 Project, which is also based in Rawtenstall.”
M3 Project works with homeless 16 to 25 year olds across East Lancashire.
A large basket will be placed under the Christmas tree in the salon for people to leave items.
These could be food, toiletries, warm clothing, toys for young children, torches that work manually or gift vouchers. A full list of items being requested will be posted on Tufties Facebook page and the salon’s website.
Victoria is liasing with homeless charities to find out what items what would be most appreciated by the people they help.
She said: “We are fortunate that we have lots of room at the salon to store any items that are donated and once we have collected enough we will begin distributing.
“We are liaising with the local Salvation Army bases in Burnley and Blackburn and Coffee 4 Craig in Manchester so we can leave the gift bags and bigger items with them.
“And on Christmas Eve some members of Tufties, including myself and my daughter Shelby, will be taking items that have been donated down to Manchester to hand them out directly to people who are living on the streets of the city.”
The salon previously raised more than £4,000 for charities in Romania and Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley. Victoria also travelled out to Romania with her daughter to distribute items collected in the salon and teach hairdressing to the older orphans.
She said: “It is going to be so lovely to do something at this time of year. It isn’t going to change the situation these people have found themselves in, but it is going to make them realise that someone is thinking of them.”
Victoria is also appealing to primary school children to draw a picture and for secondary school pupils to write a personal message and sign a Christmas card. These will be placed with the gifts to personalise them.
She said: “We want as many people as possible to get involved with our Christmas campaign. At this time of year when we are all grateful for having our families around us, please spare a thought for those who don’t.”