THE Hampshire Chronicle is once again asking its generous readers to put a smile on the face of a needy local child this Christmas.

The Chronicle’s Christmas Toy Appeal aims to help the children of people going through difficult times.

Last year’s appeal was so successful that we’re widening our campaign to help three Winchester charities this time.

Along with Winchester Basics Bank, two other worthy causes — Friends of the Family and Home-Start Winchester — will also benefit.

The Basics Bank helps families in B&B accomodation, women fleeing domestic violence, the newly-unemployed waiting for benefits to start, and people who have found work, but are between benefits ending and wages starting.

Home-Start Winchester & Districts offers free support to families with at least one child under five going through difficult times which may include loneliness and isolation; coping with twins, triplets or several pre-school children; ill-health; disability and special needs; relationship difficulties; lone-parenting; first-time parenthood and new babies; or behavioural problems.

Friends of the Family is a small, independent, Winchester-based charity which has offered confidential support to local families in difficulty for 20 years.

Among the services it provides is a mums and toddlers group for pre-school-aged children when homelife is challenging, a dads’ support group giving confidential help to men with children aged up to five, and at-home support for families with children aged five to 13.

Where to donate your presents:

The Chronicle has teamed up with The Brooks Centre in Winchester this year where toys can be left in the Waterstone’s store on the upper shopping level. Please only donate brand new toys suitable for toddlers to children aged up to 13, which should be unwrapped. Closing date for donations is Friday, December 12. Presents will be donated between the three chosen charities.