It’s a wrap! Toy Appeal reaches thousands of children in poverty
This year’s Winter Toy Appeal has provided new gifts for more than 5,000 children experiencing extreme poverty.
The Appeal, run by the Local Buyers Club in partnership with Location Location and the E5 Babybank, has been running for eight years – distributing toys via a network of social workers, schools, children’s centres, refuges, migrant centres and more. This year’s appeal reached children in Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Tower Hamlets.
Organiser Jenna Fansa, of the Local Buyers Club, said: “Once again a community has come together to do something tangible to help families experiencing hardship. Our very heartfelt thanks go to everyone who donated – thanks to them, thousands of children who would otherwise have gone without, will have a special gift to open on Christmas morning.
“This year the toys have gone to survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, to refugees, to families in London living in hostels and unable to afford the basics, to children who have suffered the loss of their parents and to others enduring heartbreaking hardship.
““Self-worth sets in from a very early age. When children talk excitedly together in the playground about their Christmas presents, it brings about a crushing sense of injustice for those who didn’t get anything. So, beyond the initial joy the toys bring, the Appeal has a more lasting impact.”
This year’s Appeal generated more than £30,000 of trade for independent shops in Stoke Newington, Victoria Park, Crouch End, Hackney, Kentish Town and Hampstead. They include Stoke Newington Toys & Books, Happy Returns, Soup Dragon, Ace Sports and The Toybox.
Jenna added: “It takes a lot of organising to run an appeal like this. Our thanks go to the amazing team at the E5 Babybank who have helped the Local Buyers Club team to order and distribute toys this year, to the team at Location Location for their generosity and help collecting and to the army of parents who gave out fliers.”
Heather Johnson, who manages Hackney Council’s Temporary Accommodation Team, told Toy Appeal supporters: “We cannot thank you enough, you have lifted the hearts of all of our families in Hackney. I am overwhelmed with the kind people of Hackney, despite such a difficult two years. Aren't people lovely!”
Kiran Aujla, of Islington Council’s housing team, said: “To be able to give a brand-new toy to the children at Christmas bursts my heart!”
Dan Henry, a family support worker from Islington, said: “We’re working with families who have fled domestic violence and have nothing, with those who can’t afford to pay the rent let alone buy toys. Many of our families can’t afford food and are dependent on food banks. For the children we support the Winter Toy Appeal toys are the only gifts they’ll get this Christmas."
Moved to tears by the Toy Appeal donations, Tanya Whitfield, of Hackney Foodbank, said the rising cost of living and the scrapping of the £20 Universal Credit uplift meant their families have to choose between food and heating – the Toy Appeal toys are the only gifts most will receive at Christmas.
The appeal has provided more than 28,000 main Christmas presents for children in poverty since its launch in 2014.
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