Winter Toy Appeal returns for ninth year – with organisers expecting it to be ‘toughest yet’

L-R: Alice Bruggen and Beautine Wester of Hackney Children & Baby Bank, Jenna Fansa of the Local Buyers Club, and Vicky Bibiris of Location Location. Photograph: courtesy Jenna Fansa

The Winter Toy Appeal is back for the ninth year running – with organisers bracing themselves for “more referrals than ever”.

The appeal, run by Hackney firm Local Buyers Club, provides new toys to thousands of children in extreme poverty across north-east London.

It ensures that youngsters who might otherwise go without will have at least one present to open on Christmas morning.

Hackney Council’s temporary accommodation team helps to distribute the toys, along with refuges, children’s centres, migrant centres and schools.

Appeal founder Jenna Fansa said: “Many families can’t afford to heat their food, let alone keep their homes warm and the situation is getting worse.  We are expecting more referrals than ever this year.

“We know, from the agencies we work with, that things are tougher than ever – with so many families experiencing hardship, we’re expecting this to be the toughest toy appeal yet.

“A sense of fairness and injustice starts at a very young age – when children are in the playground at school talking about their Christmas break it’s heartbreaking to think there will be children who didn’t receive anything.”

The appeal is run in partnership with Hackney Children & Baby Bank and Location Location estate agency.

Supporters can buy a gift online through an independent toy shop or through Amazon, and they’ll be passed on to agencies to distribute.

You can also drop off a new toy (or send it) to Location Location, 18 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0LU.

A Just Giving page has been set up to enable the Hackney Children & Baby Bank to buy new toys for children in need.

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