Toy Drive: There’s still time to donate

December 15, 2020

Council elves have been hard at work coordinating and wrapping gifts for the council’s annual Toy Drive to provide some Christmas joy for vulnerable children across Southend.

Thank you to everyone who has already donated. Remember, anyone still wishing to donate needs to do so by Friday 18 December. We are grateful for all donations made; however, we are specifically in need of gifts for older boys. We are unable to accept individual donations at the Civic Centre this year, but you can buy a gift from any of the following local shops below, leave it with them in store and we will arrange the rest.

Argosy Toys – 553 London Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 9LJ www.argosytoys.co.uk

Toys n Tuck – 1 Queens Road, Southend-on-Sea, and Essex, SS1 1LT

If you prefer online shopping or are unable to get to the shops, check out Argosy Toys website. At the point of check out please choose the option of Toy Drive as your delivery option. This will allow your purchase to be sent direct to us without leaving your home or workplace.

The gifts will be left for 72 hours before being sanitised and expertly wrapped by the council’s elves.

The Toy Drive, now in its seventh year, is an annual project set up by the Council to gift Christmas presents to vulnerable children who may not have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas like most, with the gifts being distributed to local children’s centres, food banks, refuges and children’s parties set up by local charities.

Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, said: “It is wonderful to see how many gifts have already been donated this year, with more coming in every day. If you would still like to donate to this truly wonderful project, then please do so by 18 December. Thank you for making a huge difference to those who need it most this Christmas.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to support a good cause whilst also supporting local businesses with the council’s ‘Shop Local, Shop Southend-on-Sea’ campaign.

“I completely understand that this year has been like no other and has been tough for so many people and so it has been great to see the level of donations so far. With just a few days remaining, it would be brilliant if we could provide as many gifts as possible, so I ask anyone that is able to donate to please support this fantastic project.”

If you are a company, charity or school and wish to donate more than one gift that you need collecting or wish to drop off, please contact us on the details below in order for us to run through the new procedure to ensure you and our staff are kept safe and social distance measures are maintained at all times.

If you have any questions, please call Lorraine on 01702 215481 or email elfforessex@southend.gov.uk

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

Each year the council’s elves get prepared at the Civic Grotto to try and break previous records for the number of gifts donated. However, they are fully aware that following the unprecedented challenges the country has faced this year, the focus is now for residents and businesses to support the Toy Drive in any way they can.

The Toy Drive has proven to be a huge success since its inaugural year and has grown in popularity. Over the past seven years, 7,034 gifts have been donated to vulnerable children in Southend.


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