SOUTHAMPTON foodbanks are among the first to benefit from a Hampshire-wide Christmas charity initiative.

Housing association VIVID are running a campaign which will see 11 small charities across the region receiving around 800 festive edible treat boxes to give away to those in need.

A total of 200 boxes will be distributed by Southampton City Mission (SCM) via their five foodbanks across the area, with up to 40 boxes also going to the charity’s mental health outreach team.

SCM Basics bank manager Dave Osborne said: “Thank you VIVID for coming up with this lovely idea.

"We’ll be sharing up to 40 with our local mental health outreach team to gift their clients who are isolated and often not in contact with any family so are highly unlikely to receive much more.

“The rest we will distribute out to our 5 food banks this week and next week.

"They will selectively be given out to our clients all of whom are experiencing hardship and food poverty. A heartfelt “thank you” to you all VIVID staff, and rest assured all those who receive them will be very thankful to.”

The gift boxes were individually filled and signed by staff at VIVID’s recent internal Creating Bright Futures event.

Each box contains a selection of goodies- from biscuits to popcorn, cheese straws and hot chocolate.

The boxes aim to offer cheer to a range of recipients, young and old, and that might be considered little luxuries for those living on a low budget or facing isolation this Christmas.

VIVID is Hampshire’s largest provider of homes with around 70,000 customers and 30,000 homes in the South East.

VIVID chief executive Mark Perry said: “Wellbeing and bright futures are at the heart of what we aim to offer our customers and at this time of year we wanted to find a way to spread that vision to others.

"The boxes are not only going to foodbanks but also those in domestic abuse and crisis centres, shelters for homeless veterans, isolated elderly and young people facing neglect and difficult backgrounds.”