A WOMAN from York, who launched a gift donation scheme to help tackle loneliness this Christmas, has been “overwhelmed,” by the support.

Julie Bentley, who owns the Steppingstone Footcare in the city, noticed that a number of her elderly patients were feeling lonely and isolated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Julie put out a call for gift donations on social media platform Instagram, to give her clients something to enjoy over the Christmas period.

Within minutes of putting out the call, Julie received a number of donation offers from friends, businesses around York and people that she didn’t know beforehand.

Julie, who has owned the business for over 10 years, said: “I have been so overwhelmed by the kindness, its absolutely brilliant.

“I’m quite protective over my patients, I class them as family and I know these gifts will mean the world to them.”

Ten years ago, Julie’s family were burgled just days before Christmas Day. All of her children’s presents were taken and the community came together to provide gifts for Julie and her family during this difficult time.

Every year since, Julie and her children have given up their time to ensure that the less fortunate enjoy their Christmas.

Julie said: “I wanted to go a step further this year and go big as there is so much loneliness in the community.

“We have received such a range of gifts and it’s beautiful to see, no matter what the size of the gift is. It’s the thought that counts.

“I haven’t contacted anyone to request donations, all of the supporters have got in contact with me.

“It’s great to have something to celebrate in the city during these difficult times.”