A CHARITY which supports hundreds of children across Inverclyde is determined not to let Covid-19 dim the sparkle of Christmas this year.

Coronavirus restrictions will make it difficult for Pat Burke and the team from Children in Poverty Inverclyde to go out and about collecting donations this year.

To make sure youngsters in need still have toys on Christmas Day, Pat is instead encouraging people to make donations via the charity's website.

Money received will be used to buy Argos vouchers which will then be distributed to families in need.

Charity founder Pat says his 'sponsor a gift for a child at Christmas' appeal will make sure kids living in difficult circumstances still get the chance to experience the magic of Christmas.

Pat said: "Covid restrictions may be stopping us from going out and picking up donations as we usually do, but we're still going to help youngsters this year.

"The virus has impacted on those less fortunate in our communities.

"It's had a socio-economic impact on Inverclyde and we're really seeing how difficult things are for people.

"Some people are fortunate enough to be working but many parents have lost their jobs or have been furloughed.

"The vouchers purchased with the donations will be distributed to social care, children and families, Women's Aid and refugee resettlement children."

Children in Poverty Inverclyde usually sends hundreds of youngsters to the panto at the Beacon but the venue has been forced to call off this year's show due to public health restrictions.

Pat is in no doubt that the people of Inverclyde will take time to make Christmas special for needy youngsters.

He added: "We have fantastic support from individuals and companies all over Inverclyde.

"The people here are wonderful.

"The generosity and compassion shown for children who are not having the best of times is incredible."

Pat visited Bluebird Nursery in Wren Road to launch the appeal, with help from family support worker Gail McMenemy and staff.

Gail said: "We want to help Pat in his appeal to help buy toys for youngsters in need.

"Due to Covid, families across Inverclyde have needed a little helping hand this year.

"We have great community spirit and we help each other out.

"We fully support the appeal and we're happy to help Pat spread some Christmas cheer."

To donate to the appeal, visit www.childreninpovertyinverclyde.org.uk or www.justgiving.com/cipinverclyde