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Charity launched by WMP staff offers Christmas cheer 

A charity launched by kind-hearted West Midlands Police staff and officers who gave food and clothes to those in need at Christmas will again be spreading some festive cheer across the region.

The Socks and Chocs project originated from a generous gesture by force staff to help the homeless in Birmingham city centre on Christmas Day 2010.

It has gone from strength to strength and the registered charity now works alongside homeless shelters across the region and further afield.

Socks and Chocs has distributed more than 10,000 items during the last 12 months including socks, chocolate bars, sleeping bags and other useful items such as gloves. 

Socks and Chocs Christmas 2019 collection
Socks and Chocs has distributed more than 10,000 items during the last 12 months

Donations are distributed by volunteers all year round but given the project’s roots in Christmas it is making an extra effort to provide nourishment and warmth this month. This has included the group funding 90 sleeping bags and camp beds for the winter night shelters this winter. 

The founder of the charity was ’busking bobby’ Ian Northcott who went on to receive a British Empire Medal (BEM); Socks and Chocs has also been awarded a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services which is the equivalent of getting an MBE.

The band of volunteers include police staff who are more than happy to give their free time to help others.

Lesley Jones, a detective constable with the force, said: "I don’t think anyone could have foreseen the impact and growth of Socks and Chocs. 

"It’s hard to believe it all stemmed from the kind gesture by police officers and staff to donate necessities generated themselves and from family, friends and colleagues. 

"We now receive lots of donations from the public which we’re extremely grateful and really makes a difference. We’re now in the process of distributing items for Christmas which will hopefully make a difference at this time of year."

For more information about Socks and Chocs and how to get involved visit their website

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