Can you help bring festive cheer to children in care this Christmas?
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A Suffolk woman who grew up in care homes is looking to support youngsters in Waveney this Christmas.
Sophie Lye is calling on the Suffolk community to help fill Christmas bags with presents for children in care this winter.
Having filled dozens of bags already for homes around the county, the 29-year-old, from Ipswich, is now turning her attention to homes in Beccles and Pakefield.
She said: "Over the last few months I've been building Christmas bags for children's homes around Suffolk.
"So far we've managed to make more than 60 bags for homes in Ipswich, Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds, and now I'm focusing on Beccles and Pakefield.
"Children's home are more often than not frowned upon and forgotten about but they're not all bad kids.
"Sometimes their parents can't cope or there are problems at home, but they deserve a treat and to know they are not forgotten about."
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Miss Lye, who spent time in care homes in Suffolk between 11 and 16 years old, said she "just wanted to give a bit of something back."
She said: "I grew up in care myself and I know the challenges the children and staff have to face, especially when it comes to funding.
"There isn't enough funding out there, so if I can do something myself then I feel like I should.
"Christmas was always a tough time. Not all of the children get to go home but the staff always do their best and treat you like their own.
"I am nearly 30 and they are still helping me now."
Miss Lye has also urged local businesses to get involved to help fund the purchase of some eight-in-one multi-games tables, worth £140 each, for the homes.
She said: "We have had 1,500 people involved so far across Suffolk and the support has been truly fantastic and very much appreciated by us all.
"Africa Alive and Tesco have also become involved which is great as this is a new area for me.
"The bags have taken over my house and I will be glad when Christmas is over to get my living room back."
Anyone who can help with the donations , primarily for young people aged 11-18 , is asked to contact Miss Lye on Facebook via the Fill a Box for Children in Need group.