Toys for St Nicholas

23 November 2012

SOME brand new toys were collected by Lichfield Cathedral last year during their St Nicholas service, held at the West Front. This year, the service will be on 9 December, and they are hoping for an even more generous response. All the toys will be given to the Pathway Project for children in need, particularly those from an abusive home who have escaped to a refuge.

"There can be no sadder time for families to have to leave their homes, their friends, and all their belongings, than at Christmas," the director of the Pathway Project, Kathy Coe, says. "Seeing your children suffer is truly heart-rending. You would think that the refuges would be really sad places, but they are filled with hope at this time of year.

"When the gifts begin arriving, and the worry and concern of mums trying to find ways to get something for their children is taken away, it is wonderful to watch them relax and begin to feel safe and at home with us."

The Pathway Project was set up more than 20 years ago by Ms Coe, who, with her children, had been living in an atmosphere of constant abuse. She eventually escaped, but found it so difficult to get long-term help that she determined, once resettled in safety, to do all that she could to help women who were suffering in the same way.

Since 1993, the project has helped thousands of women, providing accommodation, counselling, and support. They have a drop-in and outreach centre in Lichfield, and there is also a 24-hour helpline. "In the spirit of St Nicholas," the Dean, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, says, "the cathedral wants to ensure that very vulnerable children can experience some of the joy and delight of Christmas."

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