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As Christmas approaches, it’s the time of year where we all start looking forward to what’s under the tree. But for some children in London, this just isn’t a reality. This is where The ELBA Toy Appeal steps in.

From Monday 29 November, in collaboration with the East London Business Alliance (ELBA), the Toy Appeal at Canary Wharf will open its doors for a second year, to invite members of the public to donate a bought gift to a child in their local area. A team of volunteers will then sort and deliver these gifts to children and young people in east London and beyond.

Naomi Mead, from the Bromley by Bow Toy Appeal Centre, said; So many people tell me that the toys are a much-needed boost to families – a really positive surprise when many were anticipating that Christmas would be a struggle, emotionally or financially. Seeing the reactions of children to the toys was a real treat.

“One boy burst out ‘Santa IS real!’ and then ran around with a huge grin on his face. Another four-year-old said, ‘thank you so much Santa, I love it so much, please give me this present again when I am 10 years old’. A third boy who couldn’t attend to pick up his toy in person replayed the video of Santa on his parents’ phone at least 50 times.”

Julie Dang, CSR programme coordinator, Canary Wharf Group (CWG), said; “Last year’s Toy Appeal proved to be an incredible success at Canary Wharf as the pop-up received a record-breaking number of toys – over 22,000 – which were gifted to children who would otherwise go without. We’re so pleased to be able to offer a space to the Appeal again this year, which will help raise more much needed donations for families who may be struggling this Christmas.”

The ELBA Toy Appeal drop off point for gifts will be safe and Covid-19 secure.

Toy Appeal asks for gift donations within the following guidelines:

  • New toys between the value of £10 and £15.
  • Please ensure the presents are unwrapped. This is so community organisations can choose which children the gifts are most suited to.
  • Toys should have the Lion Mark CE to show they are child friendly and safe for use.
  • No toys that require batteries. It’s ok if the toy comes with batteries included.
  • No war toys or toys that portray fighting such as tanks, soldiers and guns. Some children may be asylum seekers fleeing war. Star Wars and superheroes are fine
  • No iTunes/Google Play vouchers. Most children that benefit from the Toy Appeal won’t have access to an account. Cinema vouchers are more appropriate.
  • No second-hand donations. Many of our community partners cannot accept second-hand toys due to health and safety reasons. Also, the quality often varies greatly. For many children, this will be the only toy they receive so we would like it to be a new toy.
  • Age range for toys – the toys will be donated to babies and children up to the age of 16.

In conjunction with supporting the Toy Appeal, CWG has committed £10,000 towards making donations to community groups and charities for their Christmas celebrations, helping bring the community together, combat social isolation, and for those who continue to support vulnerable members of the local community. This funding will provide provisions for foodbanks, care packages, activity packs for children, gifts for senior citizen organisations and assistance with their Christmas parties.

CWG will also be supporting EECF’s Winter Appeal – which provides care packages to East London’s isolated elderly and vulnerable this winter.