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Winter Warmer appeal helps thousands of families in North Essex

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s Winter Warmer appeal has helped thousands of families in Essex so far.

For the past eight years Les Nicoll, Community Builder at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has set up the Winter Warmers pop-up shop in Dovercourt.

The appeal was set up to help struggling families within communities in the North of the county who have little or no winter clothing, shoes, boots or bedding.

This year, the pop up shop was held in Dovercourt between 6 - 10 January. During the event, Les and his team of volunteers gave away 9,000 items of winter clothing, shoes, boots, bedding and household goods to more than 1,300 families.

Families were also signposted to other agencies to help with housing, debt and employment advice and a number of families booked Home Fire Safety Visits with the Service.

A number of children who were sleeping on the floor were provided with beds and cots, several bikes were donated to help people get to and from work and the team arranged delivery of a rise and fall chair for an elderly man who had recently returned home from hospital.

Les Nicoll said: “Every caller was made very welcome with cake and coffee, my volunteers became personal shoppers assisting our clients with size selection and sourcing much needed items.”

Following the success of the pop-up shop in Dovercourt, this year, Les reached out to Barnados and Greenstead Community Centre in Colchester to arrange a pop-up shop in Colchester.

Colchester’s pop-up shop opened in January and helped almost 950 people during the two day event. Nearly 6,000 items were donated to families and as with the Dovercourt event, the team went above and beyond to provide and signpost people to essential support.

Les and the team will be running a further pop-up shop in Jaywick on 5 – 6 February.

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