AN author from the town centre hasn’t let lockdown spoil her fundraising plans.

Katie Portman, of Cavendish Road, has spent the past four years organising a Christmas collection for a local women’s refuge with party food, essential items and gifts.

The 41-year-old has been forced to cancel her annual festive collection for the refuge amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, Katie has launched an online fundraiser with all proceeds raised being donated to the refuge, whose identity is being withheld due to the nature of its work.

Katie said: “Christmas can be a magical time but for many, it is incredibly difficult and upsetting.

“All the women and children in the refuge have had to leave their homes due to domestic violence and are now desperately trying to rebuild their lives so they can be happier and at peace.

“There are currently eight women and ten children residing in the refuge and it is my hope that together we can raise enough funds to ensure that everyone receives a Christmas gift or two as well as essentials.

“Many will have suffered tremendously before arriving and all will be struggling in a variety of ways.”

Katie believes that despite the tough year for many across the borough, people have pulled together to support those in need.

“This Christmas collection isn’t just about ensuring they have something to open on the big day.

“it’s also – and more importantly – about showing them the kindness that sadly has been absent in their lives for so long.

“This year due to Covid-19, I’m unable to collect as I would do normally and so instead, I’m asking for help to raise funds instead.

“Every single penny that is donated will go direct to the refuge and be spent by the team to ensure that your Christmas generosity reaches every woman and child currently living there as well as some women and children who have recently moved into their own homes.

“I know financially that times are tough for so many this year, but if you can help by donating, I can promise you that your kindness and money really will make a difference.

“I know from my experience of doing this for the past four years that it really does have such a positive impact.

“The kindness shown in the past has often moved myself and members of the refuge team to tears.”

To donate to Katie’s fundraiser, click here.