BARNSLEY'S councillors have clubbed together to buy almost £1,000 of gifts for children who will be spending their Christmas in care.

Instead of exchanging Christmas cards, the councillors opted to buy presents for the children in the borough's three children's homes.

Coun Tim Cheetham suggested the idea. He said: "As corporate parents to these children we like to take any opportunity to improve their lives and at this time of year we wanted to make this gift direct from us to them.

"It's important to remember that councils don't just empty bins and cut grass - the things we can all see. They spend the vast majority of their resources on the things you can't see - looking after older people, dealing with disabilities, illness and other difficulties and, of course, vulnerable children.

"There are almost 250 children in some form of care in Barnsley and protecting them from the cuts to council budgets has to be a priority. Barnsley councillors are making a very personal contribution to that this year."