It’s a wrap: Christmas Toy Appeal reaches thousands of children in need

Vicky Bibiris of Location Location and Jenna and Basil Fansa of the Local Buyers Club

The Winter Toy Appeal has provided thousands of Christmas presents for children in Hackney, Islington, Tower Hamlets and Haringey. Pictured: Vicky Bibiris of Location Location and Jenna and Basil Fansa of the Local Buyers Club - Credit: Local Buyers Club

Thousands of children in need in Hackney, Islington, Haringey and Tower Hamlets will be receiving gifts this Christmas thanks to a successful Winter Toy Appeal. 

The Winter Toy Appeal has provided presents for more than 4,900 children experiencing extreme poverty. 

Organiser Jenna Fansa of the Local Buyers Club, praised families for coming together to help families experiencing hardship.

She said: "Our very heartfelt thanks go to everyone who donated – thanks to them, thousands of children who would otherwise have gone without, will have a special gift to open on Christmas morning."

A team from Hackney Council collecting toys for the winter appeal

A team from Hackney Council collecting toys for the winter appeal - Credit: Local Buyers Club

The Appeal, run by the Local Buyers Club in partnership with Location Location and the E5 Babybank in Hackney, has been running for eight years.

The project distributes toys via a network of social workers, schools, children’s centres, refuges, migrant centres and more.

This year’s appeal reached children in Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Tower Hamlets. The toys went to survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, refugees, families in London living in hostels and children who have suffered the loss of their parents as well as others enduring hardship. 

It also generated more than £30,000 of trade for independent shops in Stoke Newington, Victoria Park, Crouch End, Hackney, Kentish Town and Hampstead. 

Alice Bruggen, a volunteer at the E5 Babybank, who has helped order and distribute toys from the appeal

Alice Bruggen, a volunteer at the E5 Babybank, who has helped order and distribute toys from the appeal - Credit: Local Buyers Club

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They include Stoke Newington Toys & Books, Happy Returns in Hampstead Village, Soup Dragon in Crouch End, Ace Sports in Kentish Town and The Toybox on Victoria Park Road. 

Organiser Jenna added: “When children talk excitedly together in the playground about their Christmas presents, it brings about a crushing sense of injustice for those who didn’t get anything.

"So, beyond the initial joy the toys bring, the appeal has a more lasting impact.”

Heather Johnson, who manages Hackney Council’s Temporary Accommodation Team, said: “You have lifted the hearts of all of our families in Hackney."

Kiran Aujla, of Islington Council’s housing team, said: “To be able to give a brand-new toy to the children at Christmas bursts my heart."

Kiran Aujila of Islington Council’s Housing team collecting toys

Kiran Aujila of Islington Council’s Housing team collecting toys - Credit: Local Buyers Club

The appeal has provided more than 28,000 main Christmas presents for children in poverty since its launch in 2014.

www.wintertoyappeal.com