Full speed ahead for annual Toy Drive

Published Friday, 2nd November 2018

Gifts in colourful wrapping

Mentioning the C word in November is frowned upon by most, and for good reason. Christmas is just over 8 weeks away, but the Council elves are already preparing for this year’s Toy Drive.

The Toy Drive is an annual project, set up by the Council, to gift Christmas presents to vulnerable children throughout the borough who may not have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas like most.

This year is the fifth year of the Toy Drive, and the team are hoping for a bumper year to provide as many presents as possible. The gifts are distributed to local children’s centres, food banks, refuges and children’s parties set up by local charities.

The Toy Drive has proven to be a huge success since its inaugural year and has grown in popularity, too. In 2014 we collected and distributed 300 gifts; in 2015 this number grew to 1100 gifts. 2016 we were able to provide 840 gifts, and in 2017 we gave our biggest donation to date, distributing 1552 gifts to local children.

Cllr John Lamb, leader of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said: “With Christmas just around the corner, it is important to remember that there are many children who won’t be opening a present come 25 December. The Toy Drive is a truly wonderful project and it makes a huge difference to those who need it most.

“Any donation goes a long way to putting a smile on a vulnerable child’s face, and we urge all residents to get behind this project so that we can have a hugely successful year – even beating last year!”

One of the charities that are supported through the Toy Drive is Turning Tides: a group that works with vulnerable children throughout the borough. They gave some feedback for the generosity of last year’s Toy Drive.

Anthony Quinn, Manager of Turning Tides, said: “I would like to extend a huge thank you to the team at Toy Drive for your wonderful help in making this an extra special one. Your kind donation of all those wonderful presents meant we were able to give the children more than ever this year.

“Many of the children we work with are from backgrounds where Christmas is not always possible and gifts are a dream not a reality. Seeing their faces light up when they saw their presents really brought to life how the clubs make a difference and how they wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our volunteers and supporters.”

If you would like to donate to the Toy Drive, please deliver the gift to the Civic Centre reception by December 15.

If you have any questions, please call Lorraine on 01702 534923 or email the Toy Drive Elves.

What can you donate?

  • new toys only, suitable for babies, boys and girls aged up to 17 (if any toys require batteries, please include these too)
  • vouchers for toys or days out
  • selection packs
  • pens, pencils and colouring books
  • toiletry sets