Shropshire accountant asks people to ring in the festive period early and donate gifts to charity

Rob Ellis with Gift Tree

A shropshire accountant is asking for forgiveness for using the ‘C word’ in October in order to beat last years efforts and collect even more gifts for children living in refuges over the festive period.

Rob Ellis, the Managing Partner of Welch and Ellis, an accountants and tax specialist based in Willow Street, Oswestry, is encouraging other business owners and members of the public to join him in supporting charity KidsOut’s ‘Giving Tree’ Christmas initiative.

Last year, Welch and Ellis managed to collect 93 gifts and get them to the charities depot in Birmingham with the help of Oswestry firm blue box sameday couriers  but Rob hopes with a longer run up and help from others businesses and members of the public they can double the number of gifts this year.

Rob, who lives in Llanfechain, Powys, with his wife Jo and three-year-old son Samuel, said: “Last year we were very lucky as blue box sameday couriers stepped in to deliver the gifts to the charity at the last minute which gave us extra time to buy even more but we have started early this year and hope to help even more kids.

“Christmas is an exciting time for children, but it can be difficult for those escaping domestic violence. While kids all over the country receive dozens of gifts during the holiday season, children living in refuge may not even expect one.”

Having already left their home, toys and all that is familiar, KidsOut believes these children deserve more. Through their Giving Tree initiative they aim to distribute a toy to every child living in a Women’s Aid refuge during the festive period throughout the UK.

Businesses, schools and organisations can take part by turning their Christmas tree into a special KidsOut ‘Giving Tree’. In the lead up to Christmas, decorative tags with a child’s name*, age and suggested gift are placed on the tree, with participants being invited to take a tag and buy the present for £5-£10 and drop it back into the office unwrapped.

Welch and Ellis will then arrange to get the gifts to the nearest depot, which is in Birmingham, for the deadline of 10 December and KidsOut will collect the gifts to distribute to children in local refuges.

Now in its sixth year nationally, the Giving Tree initiative has grown tremendously from 63 companies taking part in 2014, to more than 750 companies in 2018 which along with other groups saw a total of 43,000 presents collected. The aim is for as many as possible to take part this year so every child in refuge receives a present over the festive period.

From 1 November Welch and Ellis will have a Christmas tree in their office with red and gold tags from the charity which people can take.  The red tags have details of a specific gift for the person to buy whereas the gold ones allow people who don’t have the time or desire to go shopping for a gift personally to make a monetary donation so the charity can buy it on their behalf.

With the support of the local business community, Welch and Ellis are determined to try and provide at least 200 gifts for the scheme.

Rob explained: “We did really well last year thanks to the generosity of staff and some of our clients but we hope this year other companies will join in and we can do even better.”

Anyone interested in taking a tag, but who cannot get into the office to do so in person is asked to email  Claire