BUDDING police officers have been doing their bit to help the homeless this festive season - collecting gifts which they then distributed to rough sleepers.

Thames Valley Police Cadets, led by Steve Stentiford, and who meet at Alma Road Community Centre every Wednesday evening, have spent several months collecting items including hats, gloves and toiletries.

Christmas parcels were then wrapped and given to homeless people at a special festive lunch on Saturday, December 16.

The cadets teamed up with the Windsor Homeless Project for the third year running to provide the presents. The Project was formed in 2009 by Minister Mark Richardson, Reverend Ainsley Swift and PCSO David Bullock. It offers vital support to the homeless as well as those who are at risk of becoming homeless.

Mr Stentiford said: "Each cadet was given the responsibility to fill a shoebox with items of toiletries or warm clothing and every Cadet rose to the challenge with such enthusiasm.

"Our deputy head cadet, Charlotte Morris, had the honour of officially presenting the packages at the Christmas lunch."

PCSO Bullock, who is based at Windsor police station, said: “It means a great deal to the men and women who attend the Windsor Homeless Project that the Police Cadets have put together such thoughtful gifts.

"At a time which can be extremely difficult for those sleeping rough, the offer of a gift can really make a difference. The presentation of 15 parcels proved a great ending to a successful Christmas lunch that was enjoyed by all who came.”

In addition to the gifts presented by the Cadets, the project also received a kind donation of presents from the Windsor based marketing agency, Brandwidth.

The Project runs from Windsor Baptist Church on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and in addition at Trinity St Stephens Church on Saturdays. For more information visit www.windsorhomelessproject.org