RESCUE animals across south Wales are in for a welcome treat this Christmas, thanks to the efforts of a festive shoebox appeal that originated in Gwent last year.

The call for people to donate shoeboxes full of tasty treats

or other presents for dogs, cats and rabbits - which were then distributed to rescue shelters and charities - was so successful in 2016 that organisers were determined to make it bigger and better this year.

And so the Santa Paws Gwent appeal is now in full swing, with the aim of improving the lives of as many homeless animals as possible this winter.

The appeal also takes in birds this year, along with larger animals such as ponies.

More than 20 drop-off points have been set up this year, across Gwent and further afield, to try to anticipate demand based on last year's successful first attempt.

"It was amazing last year, we had no idea how people would get behind the appeal," said Sarah Lavender, from Newport, who is one of the organisers.

"Based on last year, we've widened it out to include more animals, more shelters and charities. It's going really well so far."

Details of the items required - these are not restricted to edible treats - along with the charities that will be helped, the sponsors, and the drop-off points for donations, are available at - and there is also a link to the appeal's Facebook page.

* There is also a raffle being held in aid of the appeal, with the chance to win a giant toy Andrex dog.

Details are on the website, and the draw will be made at the appeal's stall at the St David's Hospice Care Bark in the Parc event at Belle Vue Park, Newport, on Sunday November 12, 11am-3pm.