GIVING vulnerable veterans and other people in the community a gift this Christmas could make all the difference, the founder of a Pembrokeshire charity has said.

The VC Gallery has launched its Christmas shoebox appeal for 2018, which helps an estimated 50 people across Pembrokeshire from military backgrounds, or who live in poverty or with mental health issues, to have a more enjoyable time in the winter.

“To quote a veteran that we are supporting – Christmas has always been a tough time of year for him,” said Barry John, founder of the gallery.

“It has made a massive difference for him to receive a shoebox and he now feels cared for and part of the community. It really made his Christmas last year to feel like there is someone who cares.”

The VC Gallery is asking for donations of non-perishable foods, clothing, and other Christmas gifts, as well as pet food for the animals of the families it supports.

The appeal was set up in 2016 with help from Cllr Sue Murray, currently the mayor of Haverfordwest.

“We had a thought about how we could make a difference for some people at Christmas – that was the start of the shoebox appeal,” said Barry.

The gallery’s team of volunteers travels throughout Pembrokeshire in the week before Christmas, delivering to 48 homes.

This year, it is working alongside the Pembrokeshire Time Bank to rewards its volunteers for their hard work with free access to leisure centres.

The VC Gallery would like to thank Darren Briggs of Crossways Garage, Valero and Bev and Ian of Skycam Wales for their continued support for the appeal.

The shoebox appeal is also supported by the Vawers Trust, Haverfordwest Town Council and the Pembrokeshire Time Bank.

Anyone who wishes to help the appeal can drop donations off at the VC Gallery’s Haverfordwest buildings at High Street and Bridge Street, Haverfordwest Town Council offices at Picton Place, as well as at the Pembroke Dock VC Gallery or Parfitt’s Carpets.