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Mall general manager Loraine Jones (left) with Secret Santa founders Phil and Karen Boulding
A CHARITY which helps give underprivileged children in the Blackburn with Darwen district Christmas presents has been shortlisted for an award.
Secret Santa has been nominated and shortlisted for the Young People’s Award at this year’s Community Volunteer Awards.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony at King George’s Hall, Blackburn, on 3 November.
This service from Community CVS aims to reward individuals and organisations for the great work they do in and around Blackburn with Darwen and anyone can put forward a nomination.
Phil Boulding, the managing director of Secret Santa, said it was an “honour” to be recognised and the shortlist nomination “came completely out of the blue”.
The 60-year-old added: “We later found out that a lady and member of the public nominated us.
“It’s an honour to be put forward for this – but there are also so many other fantastic charities who work hard and haven’t been nominated.
“We’d like to thank them and let them know that they haven’t been forgotten.”
Phil added that the community is “thrilled” for them and their nomination as they know how hard they work.
Charlotte Knowles said: “Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people. So proud to be connected with you guys.”
“You deserve to be recognised for your help towards children in need within our borough,” wrote Pauline Lau.
Another said: “So well deserved – you are amazing people.”
The aim of the charity is to provide disadvantaged children in the local area with “a Secret Santa red sack of joy” filled with presents at Christmas.
However, the charity isn’t just for Christmas as they also work on other projects throughout the year.
In April, they launched a project called “Secret Sheikh” where they aimed to provide over 300 gifts to disadvantaged Muslim children during Eid.
In the past they have also distributed Easter eggs, helped with period poverty, sourced prom wear for school leavers, brought lonely people together, organised food and meals for those in need, and gave laptops to impoverished families.
Phil added: “It’s a complete surprise that we’re still doing what we’re doing.
“We initially just wanted to give something back to the community but the public have just taken us into their hearts and supported us.”
The charity is accepting toy donations for this year’s event, where they hope to “give 1000 children” a fantastic Christmas.
Phil added: “When you’re buying your own families presents, it would be fantastic if you could just buy one more and help Secret Santa give a child a Christmas.”
You can bring you donations to Blackburn Mall. The Secret Santa shop is based below the Clock Tower on King William Street.
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