The request is for residents to put out a waterproof bag, marked Salford’s Santa Appeal containing a small, unwrapped gift suitable for a child aged nought to 16 with any bin or food caddy being collected between Monday December 3 and Friday December 7 or hand it to the crews as they do their normal round that week.
Gifts could be items such as toys, games, sports items such as footballs, clothing such as scarves, hair accessories, gloves, hats or selection boxes.
Volunteer drivers will follow the crews as they work, collecting any gifts. All items will be checked and then passed on to local charities including Women’s Aid which helps women and children fleeing domestic abuse and Wood Street Mission which supports struggling families in Salford and Manchester.
The idea came from refuse collector Sam Barry, who is also the Unison convener. Union reps from Unite and GMB and managers from Salford City Council have given it their backing.
The three unions will sponsor red high visibility jackets and Santa hats for the crews to wear during the week of the collection.
City Mayor Paul Dennett said:
“It’s a lovely idea and the council is delighted to support it to make sure Salford children in need really get a Christmas to remember.
“Our refuse collectors are truly showing the Spirit of Salford with this. Gifts don’t have to cost a lot but show our struggling families that others are thinking of them. We would ask though, for the children’s sake and safety, that all donated items are brand new.”
“A lot of families are struggling in Salford with benefit changes, low wages and rising prices and the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t want children to miss out.
“We have over 110,000 households on our weekly rounds so the potential is huge. It could make it an incredible Christmas for children in Salford who would otherwise go without.”
Gifts can also be dropped off at Turnpike depot on Eccles Old Road, Salford Civic Centre, Chorley Road, Swinton or Salford City UNISON’s branch office, 443-445 Chorley Road, Swinton, M27 9LQ between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.