Can you help be Santa for the annual Toy Drive?

November 1, 2021

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

The council elves are prepped, stationed, and ready to wrap and deliver your kind donations. As always, we are aiming to give to as many children as possible, hopefully breaking the record of 1433 gifts donated in 2020 Since the Toy Drive began, 7603 toys have been donated to local children through local charities and programmes.

If you would like to donate to the Toy Drive, you can purchase gifts from Argosy Toys or Toys ‘N’ Tuck and donate by Wednesday 15 December. You can also purchase toys online from Argosy Toys at and select ‘Toy Drive’ as option for delivery. Unfortunately, donations cannot be accepted at the Civic Centre this year.

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 Ian Gilbert, leader of the Council, said: “I am thrilled 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. It’s now time to ask for your generosity once again and donate to the Toy Drive 2021. You will really help make a special Christmas to the vulnerable children and young people in Southend.”

Paul Wohl, owner of Argosy Toys, said: “We are really looking forward to being part of the SBC Toy Drive in 2021. It's been a tough year for those on lower wages as prices of everything have taken a sudden jump. By taking part we can be a small cog in the wheel that helps these families have a better Christmas.”

Emma Dadswell, owner of Toys n Tuck, said: “The Toy Drive for us is really a way to bring our community together in helping those who need a bit of Christmas spirit, because no child should wake up and not have a single gift on Christmas day. We know Christmas isn’t all about presents, but it just shows that there is someone who cares, and we really do!

“We love our town and we love Christmas, and as an independent family run business, we like to lead by example and not only be a place for others to donate gifts, but like to make sure we put in our fair share too!”

If you have any questions, or would like to support the Toy Drive, please call Lorraine on 01702 534923 or email


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