Santa’s sleigh is on its way thanks to generous donations

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

Pile of presents wrapped up and some unwrapped toys and games.

The eighth annual Toy Drive, set up and managed by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, came to a close last week. The 2021 event has broken the all-time record for presents donated. In total, council elves will be delivering a whopping 1,929 presents to vulnerable children and young adults across Southend-on-Sea. In total, 600 meters of wrapping paper and 17 rolls of cellotape has been used.

Scott Elliot, team leader at Turning Tides, one of the organisations the council works with on the Toy Drive, said: “We had the parties this week and the kids were made up with their gifts. They were fantastic events and seeing the kids so happy really shows the importance of the Toy Drive.

“Thank you so much to everyone who donated and to the Council for all you did for these children.”

The previous record for donations was 1,859 gifts, and over the eight years the project has been run, an incredible 10,288 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: “The Toy Drive is a truly amazing project and it makes a huge difference to those who need it most. I give my sincerest gratitude to everyone who has been involved in the Toy Drive and donated this year, making Christmas magical for children and young adults across the town.

"I am so pleased that we have smashed the all-time record for presents donated, and the Toy Drive has now delivered over 10,000 presents to vulnerable people in our town since its launch, which is absolutely incredible.

“These children and young people 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.”

Published: 22nd December 2021

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