Santa Claus delivered thanks to generous donations

Published Friday, 27th December 2019

Nearly 2,000 vulnerable children had a Christmas present to open on the big day, thanks to the incredible generosity of local residents and businesses.

The sixth annual Toy Drive, set up and managed by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, came to a close last week. 2019 has been a record-breaking year for the project; 1,892 presents were collected and were delivered to vulnerable children across the borough.

The previous record total was 1,552 in 2017 and over the six years the project has been run, 7,034 presents have been donated and shared out at local children’s centres, food banks, refuges and charitable children’s parties.

Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, said: “I would like to offer my sincerest thanks to everyone who has been involved in the Toy Drive and donated this year. It is truly remarkable to see how much the people of Southend really care for one another, and it really highlights the importance of the project.

“These children would have gone without this Christmas, and it is heart-warming to know this was not the case this year. Whilst this year’s project comes to an end, we will be back next year with the aim to deliver even more Christmas spirit to those who may otherwise go without.”

A special thank you goes to the following businesses and groups who supported and donated to the Toy Drive 2019:

  • Arriva Bus Co
  • Argosy Toys
  • Rossendales
  • Newlyn
  • Staff at Marks and Spencer (Southend)
  • Thorpe Hall School
  • Nationwide
  • Olympus – Key Med
  • Adventure Island
  • Asda Shoeburyness
  • Shoebury Thorpe Bay Baptist Church (STBBC) Youth Small Group
  • Paul Robinson Solicitors
  • The Rochford Day Nursery

In total, 924 meters of wrapping paper and 29 rolls of cellotape has been used. Residents who find themselves left with any unused wrapping paper are invited to drop the excess off to the Civic Centre, so that the team can use it to wrap presents for next year’s Toy Drive.