Caring Janice making a difference at Christmas

Janice with her haul of goodies for The Brick
Janice with her haul of goodies for The Brick
Share this article

Families in need could now have a much brighter Christmas thanks to the hard work of a caring Wiganer.

Janice Hinden spent months making festive decorations, including wreaths, candles and decorations, after deciding she wanted to help people who were struggling.

Since the beginning of October, she has spent her weekends selling the crafts on stalls in various locations in the town.

They have proved to be very popular and saw Janice make a profit of £1,400 in aid of homelessness charity The Brick.

Janice, who lives in Poolstock, said: “I’m absolutely overwhelmed with the response I have had. It has been really touching.

“People have been so generous. They say there is a shortage of money but people in Wigan haven’t shown it.

“I like to think it’s because they like the products as well as supporting The Brick.”

Janice has now hit the shops to buy hundreds of items for people in need this Christmas.

She filled more than eight large shopping trolleys with food and toys - even breaking a supermarket’s self-service machine when she tried to pay for her haul.

Among the goods she bought were tins of vegetables, boxes of cornflakes, dried pasta, coffee, jam, long-life milk, tea bags, rice, noodles and other essentials.

Janice, 50, also bought colouring books, toys and board games for children.

The items have been collected by The Brick and will be used to create hampers for families in need.

She also bought more than 60 sleeping bags, underwear, socks, hats and gloves for homeless people.

Janice is delighted to have bought so many different things and thanked everyone who had helped.

“I really would like to thank everyone who has supported me, including all the shops and the council,” she said.

It was the first time that Janice had raised money on this scale, after a smaller gesture to help people with her husband snowballed.

Janice and husband Justin decided to each buy a hamper filled with enough shopping for a week for a family in crisis, rather than giving each other Christmas presents, after seeing people sleeping rough in Wigan.

The following year they wanted to help two families each and Janice made small Christmas trees with feathers, which she sold to raise money, and asked her neighbours to donate food.

She secured enough money and donations for hampers for 12 families.

Her fund-raising has been much grander this year and she hopes to go even bigger in 2018.

She will start buying materials after Christmas and has set herself a target of £3,000.

Janice said: “I would like to think I can double it next year. A couple of things I’ve lost money on, but it’s like a business and you don’t know what will be good and bad.

“It’s been brilliant.”