Carlisle firms are asked to forego cards and corporate gifts this Christmas and support a city youth organisation instead.

The Cumberland, Baines Wilson, Dodd & Co, Liberty Work and Leisure, Thomas Graham and Cumbrian Properties are Carlisle Youth Zone Ambassadors.

They are urging other businesses to follow in their footsteps and donate cash usually spent on Yuletide cards and gifts to the organisation and asking their clients and contacts to do the same.

The group has set a £5,000 target for the campaign and has already raised over £1,500 already.

Lynsey Buckle, of Carlisle Youth Zone, said: “Donations in lieu of Christmas cards and corporate gifts will have a great effect.

"Over 1,500 children use the facilities every week and over a quarter come from disadvantaged backgrounds. This additional revenue stream is incredibly helpful, especially at this time of year as funds can ensure that the children can be part of something great this Christmas."

The ambassadors are also asking their own staff if they would like to donate to the cause by holding Christmas jumper days or other fundraising events.

They also announced that Rachael Hogarth, of Cumbrian Properties, has joined as an ambassador.

John Wilson, of Baines Wilson, chairs the group. He said: “Rachael brings a breath of fresh air to the group and has already introduced new patrons."

For more information about the Christmas campaign or how to become a patron, call Lynsey on 01228 516280.