KNH staff help spread Christmas cheer

Release Date: 27-Nov-2017
Our staff are once again helping to make this Christmas a little happier for dozens of customers who are struggling to make ends meet.
Cllr Cathy Scott with our CEO Liz Cook, managers and staff involved in the scheme

Cllr Cathy Scott with our CEO Liz Cook, managers and staff involved in the scheme

Just a few of the toys that have been donated

Just a few of the toys that have been donated

Now in its 12th year, the KNH ‘toy store’ provides toys, games and hampers for customers who would otherwise struggle to buy gifts for their families. All the items are donated by staff who work for or with the housing company.

The origins of the toy store lie with KNH’s debt advice team, as senior advisor, Paul Watson explains: “We help hundreds of people every year who have serious financial problems and are really struggling to make ends meet

“The idea of the toy store came to me when I was trying to figure out what more we could do to help our customers at what is such a stressful time of year for people with money worries.

“We ask colleagues for donations, and each year, we’re inundated with fantastic toys, games and gifts, which we wrap up and then give to those people who really need a bit of extra help. We’ve had fantastic support from Netherhall High School staff team, Holmfirth Library, Shepley First School, and tenants at our retirement living schemes in Linthwaite & Dewsbury.

“Since we began the toy store, we’ve been able to help more than 1000 children and families enjoy a brighter Christmas.”

The debt advice team works with council tenants and leaseholders who are in financial difficulties, providing sensitive and confidential advice as well as practical help. They do this in a variety of ways, depending on the situation, including negotiating affordable repayments and boosting customers’ income by making sure they’re getting all the benefits they’re entitled to and applying for charitable grants.

Cllr Cathy Scott, cabinet member for housing, said: “As a councillor, I see every day how hard it is for families to make ends meet, especially those on low incomes, zero hours contracts or Universal Credit.

“All children should have a happy Christmas, no matter what their circumstances, and the KNH toy store is a great example of how a bit of creativity and generosity can make a huge difference to local children.”

KNH Chief Executive, Liz Cook, said: “At KNH, we’re working hard and always thinking of different ways to make a positive difference to our customers’ lives. We are increasingly concerned about the impact of welfare changes and particularly the roll out of Universal credit which started in Kirklees on 1 November, with 6 week delays in payments for new claims which will be particularly difficult for people at this time of year.

“I’m really proud that each year, KNH staff give time and gifts for people who really need some extra help.

• If you are a council tenant or leaseholder worried about your finances, don’t wait and let the problems get worse. Call the Debt Advice team on 01484 414886 to request a copy of the KNH “Money Worries” booklet or to speak to one of the team in confidence.

• If you are not a council tenant, other agencies such as the Citizens Advice can help. They have offices across Kirklees. You can also call 0844 848 7970 for the CAB telephone advice service or visit their website at