Published: 15:20, 13 August 2020
| Updated: 15:22, 13 August 2020
With the UK having entered a recession as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, families may already be worrying about how they will cope at Christmas.
But a new project set up in Deal by community organisers Chrissi Dunn and supported by Kerry Banks BEM is designed to ease the stress on some families with young children.
They have launched the Deal Dolls Hospital, appealing for donations of unwanted dolls and accessories to be transformed into new toys for youngsters.
They can be in any condition; Barbies with matted hair, Ken dolls with felt tip pen tattoos, and Actionmen with chewed fingers are all still desired.
The project leaders are also looking for any accessories either intact or in need of repair, for example helicopters with no propellers and cars missing a wheel.
The scheme also requires volunteers who would be willing to knit and sew dolls clothes for the donated items - plus donations of wool.
They are particularly targeting elderly people shielding who may be looking for something new to occupy their time.
'It is brilliant to be able to work on another community project that will support children and families in the community this Christmas'
Mrs Dunn and Mrs Banks have worked together on community projects in the past included the Recycled Teenagers group for the over 50s, and the Tree of Nostalgia, a Christmas tree at St George's Church remembering loved ones.
Mrs Dunn has already rallied the Recycled Teenagers gang to help with the project after she has been unable to host their monthly meet up.
She said: “It is well over a year since our last Recycled Teenagers tea party as through my own ill health I could no longer organise it.
"It was Kerry who helped me set up the group originally which ran successfully for over five years and was enjoyed by many young at heart seniors.
"Many of us are still shielding or not able to get out and are preparing for a further lockdown as the weather gets colder and the evenings draw in.
"Together, however alone we have come together on our Deal Dolls Hospital project, not only to keep us busy and focused through the coming months, but we are also concerned that many families will be suffering financial or other social hardships and might not have the usual resources available to them.
"The finished dolls accessories will be distributed to local children at Christmas and beyond to families who might not be able to afford much this year or next with the way things have been since the pandemic struck.”
Volunteer knitter Linda Barnett who has been shielding since February and also experienced two hospital admissions during the outbreak is another who is already working on the project.
She said: "Despite this, I can knit and it is so nice to be involved in a project that will bring joy to children and also keeps me out of mischief.”
Kerry Banks BEM said: “It is brilliant to be able to work with Chrissi again on another community project that will support children and families in the community this Christmas.
"I am on hand to collect anything that cannot be dropped off.
"We look forward to receiving your donations."
The group can be found on Facebook 'Deal Dolls Hospital' or'Recycled Teenagers' or call Chrissi on 01304 274931 or Kerry on 07708913976.