SANDYMOOR students have given up their spare time to help spread the love to disadvantaged people in Runcorn.

Pupils undertaking their bronze Duke of Edinburgh award at Sandymoor School in Wharford Lane decided to commit hours of volunteering to the Shoebox Full of Love appeal which hands out gift boxes filled with treats and necessities to those who urgently need them.

The students worked with Creative Support in Halton Lodge and Runcorn and District Foodbank, services which help vulnerable people in Halton.

Debbie Kinsella, assistant principal for behaviour and pupil development at Sandymoor School, said: "From me personally leading this with our students, I felt really overwhelmed with the amount of love and commitment displayed from a variety of our students.

"I know it was a real eye opener for our young people to hear stories about how and why some people end up requiring support, whether that be from the foodbank or from Creative Support to get homeless people off the streets.

"Our students did not really understand much about the new benefit system of universal credit but were told how this has placed increased stress and strain on people financially, leading to many people in our community requiring support from foodbanks to feed their families.

"I am pleased we have broken down some barriers around the causes and perceptions of homelessness through running this appeal and we look forward to doing it again next year."

Pupils dedicated hours of wrapping, donating, filling and checking boxes, often staying after school to finish the job due to overwhelming support from the community.

The students have now delivered over 130 gift boxes with help from Creative Support and Runcorn and District Foodbank, exceeding their original target of 70 boxes.