CHRISTMAS may be a few months away but Santa has already been spreading some cheer around Bradford.

Unlike the REAL Santa, the traditional character we've met in story books dressed in red and riding a sleigh pulled by his trusty reindeer, Santa Cordero, is a woman. She doesn't don a red suit but shares Santa's credentials for sharing and bringing goodwill to all.

Santa's charitable career was inspired through her upbringing in the Caribbean. She says her own childhood inspired her to help others who were in need.

The 43-year-old's arrival in the UK was prompted by her quest for a better life for her children. Her eldest daughter is 26, she also has a 22-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son.

Relying on her sewing skills, the dress-maker created more than 50 bags which she filled with toiletries, little luxuries most of us take for granted such as toothpaste, shower gels and soaps, for those in need.

The donation of the bags was her introduction to Inn Churches, the Bradford organisation providing shelter and practical support to those who are homeless.

Inn Churches are involved in a number of initiatives throughout the year including Suits on the Streets which takes place on October 5.

Proceeds from the event - which encourages business people in the city to swap their comfortable beds for a night under the stars by the arches in Forster Square, Bradford, will support Inn Churches in its work, in partnership with other organisations, offering practical help and support to the homeless during winter.

Inspired by the work they do, Santa became a volunteer for the organisation, regularly helping out in The Storehouse, the pay-as-you-feel cafe in Caledonia Street, Bradford. She also volunteers in a local charity shop in Keighley.

"I have been working for charities for quite some time," says Santa.

"I know people take for granted what they have got and I see how much people are throwing away and in the same way I see how many people are in need."

Santa says often people don't realise the extent of those in need until, like her and the many more volunteers local charities rely on to help them make a difference to other people's lives, they are actually faced with the situation through their volunteering role.

Referring to her role with Inn Churches, Santa says: "I was so in love with what they do helping people that I came and helped."

"I just love it," she adds.

As well as creating the bags, Santa and her husband Jon recently requested financial donations for the charity in lieu of gifts following their wedding in July.

The donations have contributed to the provision of starter packs for homeless guests within Inn Churches.

Other supporters of the Starter Packs are Yorkshire Building Society, Joseph Rowntree and Unltd. The project has also received further sponsorship from the YBS Charitable Trust and funding from the government's Warm Homes Healthy People Grant.

Juli Thompson, chief executive of Inn Churches, explains: "Starter packs help us to give our homeless guests a brand new start and a brighter future."

She explains the starter packs include essentials such as cutlery, duvets, pots and pans for those who are starting a new life.

"We have been very grateful for funding from Yorkshire Building Society in helping to set up this part of our project, Joseph Rowntree and Unltd for their support and for the YBS Charitable Trust for their further sponsorship.

"We are also pleased to receive funding from the government’s Warm Homes Healthy People Grant."

Referring to their volunteer, Santa, Juli admits when Santa initially got in touch and told her her name saying she would like to drop off some presents she considered it could, quite possibly, be a joke.

"A month before Christmas I got a text saying 'got some presents, I'm on my way love Santa.' I thought it was a joke," recalls Juli.

She says since Santa became a regular volunteer with the charity she has also used her sewing skills to mend and alter garments for some of the people who come along to The Storehouse. "Santa is not just for Christmas," adds Juli.