Rochdale Borough Council is now collecting donations to this year’s Christmas Toy Appeal, which helps make sure local children who are less fortunate have presents to open on Christmas Day.
The annual appeal, organised by the council’s staff-run ‘Giving Back’ charity for the past eight years will be accepting donations until 10th December.
“Last year we were blown away by the response from people and businesses in what was already a really difficult year,” said Councillor Rachel Massey, cabinet member for children’s services and education at Rochdale Borough Council.
“We always try and beat the previous year and sadly that’s because the need is there.
“People’s generosity to the toy appeal goes a long way, we know it’s a challenging time for many but if you can buy an extra present then you’ll really bring some festive joy to a local young person.”
If you can help, all you need to do is donate an unwrapped, new gift suitable for a child up to 16 years-old and leave it at your local library or Your Trust leisure centre by 10th December.
Gifts for babies and teenagers would be especially welcome as fewer were received for these age groups last year.
Council staff, who distributed a record 6,000 toys last year, will make sure they reach the borough’s less fortunate children in time for Christmas Day.
Since 2014, the appeal has provided much needed festive cheer for thousands of children and teenagers.
“The Christmas Toy Appeal is a way of spreading a little festive magic, ensuring children who have had the hardest of years have a gift to open, taking the pressure off their parents,” said Council policy advisor Helen Walton, from the Giving Back charity.
“It depends on the generosity of people and businesses in our borough, and every year it is heart-warming to see how many care enough to take part and donate.
“We know through our work with food banks and in the community that the day to day challenges felt by many local families only got tougher as a result of the pandemic and for many it will again be a grim time.
“Christmas will be a struggle for thousands of families but we still want to make sure that every child in the borough wakes up on Christmas morning with presents waiting for them and with your help we will do everything we can to make this happen.
“We ensure all gifts go to local homes who need them most and I know from experience how much joy your thoughtful gifts will bring.”
As Christmas often raises awareness of the excess and waste created, organisers are asking people to consider donating a more environmentally friendly gift where they can.
Councillor Rachel Massey said that with a climate emergency across the world the borough needs to do more to protect the planet and that includes the toy appeal.
“Everyone has a part to play, and we’re also using the toy appeal to highlight the impact excess production and consumption has, encouraging people to donate gifts that use materials that don’t negatively impact the environment,” she said.
“So in practical terms that’s trying to avoid single use plastic, toys made of sustainable materials, using an eco-friendly brand or supporting a local shop.
“We’re also encouraging people to consider buying an educational toy that will help children develop practical skills.”
You can also order a gift online and send it straight to the appeal.
The address is: Giving Back – Christmas Toy Appeal, Rochdale Borough Council, Number One Riverside, Smith Street, Rochdale OL16 1XU. Gifts will need to have been received by Friday 10th December.