EVERY child in care in Middlesbrough is to receive a special gift to help them on their journey.

Luggage specialists Madlug (Make a Difference Luggage) are donating 500 bags that the young people will be able to take with them wherever they go.

And a Council-wide drive will see the bags filled with treats and essential items before they’re distributed to their new owners.

The initiative came about after Children’s Care Personal Advisor Chloe Coxon and the Middlesbrough Care Leavers Forum (CLF) made contact with Madlug.

The company was set up in 2015 by youth worker Dave Linton after he learned that most children in care carry their worldly belongings with them in a bin bag.

That gave rise to Madlug’s ‘buy one give one’ approach – for every bag purchased, one will be given to a child in care.

The bags are unbranded to avoid stigma, fold away to fit neatly into a sock drawer or car boot and carry a label that’s says ‘You are incredible’ to remind every child that they have value, worth and dignity.

Middlesbrough Council Voice of The Child and Care Leavers Forum Co-ordinator Beth Bradshaw said: “The Forum wants to say a huge thank to Madlug for this amazing gesture which will make a huge difference to so many young lives.

“The Madlug bag project is really important to the young people as it ensures that every looked after child has a bag that they can take wherever they go.”

The Care Leavers Forum is made up of young people aged 16 to 25, and meets regularly to improve services for looked after children and care leavers.

A Council-wide collection of gifts for young people aged five to 18 is due to take place later in the year, with further details provided nearer the time.

Dave Linton, CEO and Founder of Madlug, said: “We are thrilled to be working with such an amazing group of young people in Middlesbrough who are willing to make a difference to the lives of other children and young people in care.

“We hope that a little gesture of a bag will enable these wonderful children and young people to feel loved, cared for and reminded they have value, worth and dignity.”

Councillor Antony High, Middlesbrough Deputy Mayor and lead for Children’s Services, said: “This is an amazing initiative that’s designed to give some of our most vulnerable people security and dignity as they move through the care system.

“Congratulations to the Care Leavers Forum for helping to make this happen, and thanks to Madlug for such a simple but brilliant idea.”