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Toy Appeal delivers new toys for 5,600 children in poverty

(Toy Appeal Team: Basil and Jenna Fansa of the Local Buyers Club with Vicky Bibiris of Location Location)

The Winter Toy Appeal has had a record year – collecting new toys for well over 5,600 children in poverty in North and East London.

This year’s appeal, which is run by the Local Buyers Club (a perks card supporting independent businesses) in partnership with Location Location estate agency, is forecast to spend more than £26,000 with small toy shops in Hackney and Haringey, which has been a lifeline during lockdown.

Organiser Jenna Fansa said: “We had to make some big changes this year in order to run the appeal safely mid-pandemic. It meant not having places for the public to drop toys off but relying on their generosity via a Go Fund Me page and an online wish list. We needn’t have worried – we have been completely bowled over by people’s kindness.”

More than 50 agencies across Hackney, Islington, Haringey, Tower Hamlets and Barnet are now hard at work giving the toys out to children in need. They include women’s refuges, hostels, migrant centres, food banks, schools, children’s centres and councils.

(1,000 toys were donated to Tower Hamlets Council for children in need)

Jenna added: “Every year we hope there will be less demand for the toy appeal – we dream living standards will improve and that wages and benefits will provide enough for families to live on. But this year sadly poverty is worse than ever – some agencies, such as Hackney Foodbank say they’ve never seen things so bad.

“Our very heartfelt thanks go to every single person who supported the appeal – either by donating money or toys or by helping with fundraising, leafletting and collecting toys. They have provided a moment of light and joy for children experiencing the hardest of times – it’s a great show of warmth and love for parents experiencing hardship.”

(Children at Benthal Primary raised funds by dressing as toys)

Among the major supporters of this year’s appeal were social worker Cat Taylor and fashion buyer Jenna Nicholson who raised thousands of pounds towards toys and eight-year-old Ben Boyt and his friends at Rosemary Works School who held a sponsored event. Children at Benthal and Queensbridge Primaries held dress-up days for the appeal and collected dozens of toys.

Each year the appeal is backed by Location Location estate agency who donate £2,000 and staff help hugely with the logistics of running the appeal and toy storage. Other corporate supporters this year included Blackbaud, Scor Insurance, UVA UK, The Good Egg, Galt Toys, London Events Atelier and Lego (who donated 400 sets).

This year’s Winter Toy Appeal donated:

  • ·1,000 toys to Hackney Council’s Temporary Accommodation Service

  • 1,270 + toys to Haringey Council

  • 1,100 toys to Tower Hamlets Council

  • 200 toys to Barnet Council

  • More than 46 other agencies across Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Tower Hamlets and Barnet received toys


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