The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Powys – that’s according to volunteers at a Newtown charity, who have spoken of their delight after receiving a record breaking response to their festive appeal.

Donations from kind-hearted residents have enabled the Salvation Army’s ‘Toys and Tins’ appeal, which launched in the County Times at the start of December, to provide 115 food hampers to families in need of support, and brighten up the Christmas of more than 200 children with donated toys.

The annual campaign asks members of the public to donate new unwrapped gifts for children as well as tinned and Christmas food items to be distributed to families through the Salvation Army’s own networks, local groups and social services.

Community development worker Nicola Swain says the charity has been able to hand out 25 per cent more hampers than last year.

“We’ve been really busy, and unfortunately we’ve had more referrals than ever before,” she said.

“Toy donations are on a par with last year and they’re still coming in now.

“We’ve also had a huge response to our food donations appeal which has enabled us to do even more than we did last year, so we’re very grateful to the generous people of Newtown and the surrounding areas for their help, which will improve the lives of many families in the area at Christmas time.”

Fellow organiser Samantha Jones said the charity’s shop in Market Street has seen a steady stream of donations, even during the severe snowstorms that hit the county last week.

“With all the snow and everything it’s been difficult for people to get around, but so many people have battled on through the weather to drop items off, we’ve been overwhelmed with the response. It’s been a very busy few weeks for us sorting everything out.

“It’s a testament not just to people’s determination to get through in all weathers, but also to the spirit of the community here which has worked so hard and been so generous towards people who might be less fortunate position than themselves this year.

“Thank you so much to everyone who has donated, and to our volunteers who have worked tirelessly to see us through.”

Newtown’s Salvation Army operates Newtown food bank, which has provided more than 400 food parcels to families in need in 2017, equating to more than 5,000 meals.”