TRAIN passengers across Hampshire are being urged to donate gifts for vulnerable and homeless people across the region.

People are being asked to embrace the festive spirit and donate towards a Christmas appeal South Western Railway (SWR) has launched its Christmas shoebox appeal to help vulnerable children and adults as well as the homeless.

Running from December 6 to December 11, the campaign aims to make the festive season better for people in difficult circumstances.

The train operator wants people to prepare small shoeboxes of gifts or even just individual gifts and donate them at stations across Hampshire and the wider region.

These will then be collected and handed to a selection of nominated charities.

The stations taking part in the Christmas Shoebox appeal include Southampton, Chandler’s Ford, Fareham, Hedge End, Swanwick, Winchester and Bournemouth. Last year, SWR distributed more than 750 shoeboxes for homeless people as well as 630 individual gifts for vulnerable people across the network.

Jim O’Brien, station contracts manager for SWR, who is coordinating the appeal, said: “We know that local charities based in the communities around our stations provide vital support for the vulnerable and the homeless all year round, but the holiday season is an especially difficult time for so many.

“We hope that people who live near and travel from participating stations will donate what they can and help the less fortunate this Christmas.”