Elves are ready to ‘sleigh’ it for the annual Toy Drive

It’s that time of year again - we are bringing the ninth annual Toy Drive to Southend this Christmas, with the aim of ensuring all of Southend’s vulnerable children and young people receive a gift.

A selection of wrapped and unwrapped gifts for the Christmas Toy Drive

The council elves are prepped, stationed, and ready to wrap and deliver your kind donations. As always, our goal is to give a little bit of Christmas magic to as many children and young people as possible, and with the current cost-of-living crisis, we are anticipating a greater need for gifts this year.

The gifts are distributed to local children’s centres, food banks, refuges and children’s parties set up by local charities, and are given to vulnerable children and young people who may not have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas. Since the Toy Drive began, 10,288 gifts from the Toy Drive have been donated through local charities and programmes.

If you are able, and would like to donate to the Toy Drive, you can donate gifts to the Civic Centre and the Forum, or purchase gifts from Argosy Toys or Toys ‘N’ Tuck. You can also purchase toys online from Argosy Toys and select ‘Toy Drive’ as option for delivery. So we can ensure our elves have time to wrap and deliver the gifts, please ensure all donations are delivered by Friday 16 December.

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

Cllr Stephen George, leader of the Council, said: “I am overjoyed to see the Toy Drive back and ready for action. It’s always amazing to see the incredible generosity of local people, and alongside this, supporting local independent toy shops to make their Christmas magical as well.  

“Thank you to everyone who has donated previously. We are once again asking for donations and your generosity will really help make a special Christmas to the vulnerable children and young people in Southend. We want to make it clear that we understand that the current cost-of-living crisis is affecting everyone, please only donate if you can.”

Scott Elliott, team leader at Turning Tides, said: “Here at Turning Tides we are so privileged to experience just how much the impact of a gift at Christmas can make to a child or young person, and we are truly grateful to play a small part in putting a little bit of Christmas magic into their lives.

“Christmas can be an extremely challenging time for many families, which can be due to financial constraints, especially this year with the rise in the cost of living, the Toy Drive can help to ease that burden for some families.

“We would like to say a massive thank you for all the lovely Christmas presents that are kindly donated by the people of Southend, both past and future.”

If you have any questions, or would like to support the Toy Drive, please call the team on 01702 215841 or email toydrive@southend.gov.uk.

Published: 7th November 2022

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