Staff at Blakemore Retail have collected more than £15,000 worth of donations to give to homeless and vulnerable children this Christmas.

Fifteen Blakemore Spar stores signed up to support the Worcestershire Homeless Appeal and Worcester Vineyard Church’s Growbaby initiative. Collection baskets for both causes have been installed in all participating stores over the festive period, encouraging staff and customers to give what they can.

The response from the local community has exceeded all expectations with donations of food, drink, gloves, scarves, socks and toiletries for the Worcestershire Homeless Appeal, and nappies, formula milk, clothing, toys and footwear for the Growbaby appeal.

Blakemore Retail area manager and organiser Donna Cooper said: “I couldn’t believe the level of support given this year; people were donating brand new sleeping bags, prams, boots and toiletry sets. I would like to thank everyone who helped to make this appeal an enormous success.

“All staff really enjoyed supporting the appeals and engaging in local community work. I am so proud they have gone the extra mile to help support those in need this Christmas and the difficult coming months.”

Blakemore Retail has collected around 6.5 tonnes in donations. Goods worth almost £10,000 have been given to the Worcestershire Homeless Appeal and £5,210 has been collected for Growbaby.

Volunteers at both charities will now sort the items into Christmas shoeboxes and gift bags to help disadvantaged, vulnerable and homeless people this Christmas.

A spokesperson for the Worcestershire Homeless Appeal said: “We wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of local businesses like Blakemore Retail. We would like to thank each of you, from the bottom of our hearts, who has helped and supported the appeal again this year.

“We are overwhelmed by the kindness and thank the amazing staff at all the Spar stores who went above and beyond their normal daily duties. We would also like to say a massive thank you to the Blakemore Foundation for their generosity.”

The Blakemore Foundation has awarded a further £3,000 to each charity via its employee match funding scheme. The money will help the charities in their work with vulnerable people and the Worcestershire Homeless Appeal will use the funds to purchase a hot food van to help feed rough sleepers.

A spokesperson for Worcester Vineyard Church’s Growbaby added: “We have been blown away by the support from the Spar stores; we have never had support like this before and it will be a massive help to local families.

“The match funding will go towards a bigger room for the Growbaby mornings and also help with storage costs. We would also in particular like to thank Donna Cooper, who it has been a pleasure to meet, and all of the Blakemore Retail store teams.”