Tunbridge Wells Mayor’s Toy Appeal needs your help this Christmas

Pam Mills
Mayor Len Horwood, Judy Horwood and Karen Collins

Last year more than 1,500 gifts were distributed among 500 youngsters aged 0-17, who may not otherwise have received one, in the Mayor’s Toy Appeal.

In the scheme, residents are encouraged to buy toys for children and teenagers, which can be donated at various drop-off points around the borough. From there, Toy Appeal volunteers have in recent years taken them to their base at the Big Yellow Self Storage centre in Longfield Road for sorting before delivery.

The 2017 total was largest number since the campaign began in 1989 and, with more presents expected this year, organisers are feeling a need to find a bigger workshop to operate from.

“The Big Yellow Self Storage has been so great to us over the years,” said campaign co-ordinator Karen Collins. “But the premises have been a bit tight for size and we could do with something larger.”

Children are given three major presents inside a sack, which is topped up with smaller stocking fillers.

Mayor Len Horwood is fronting the campaign, which will officially launch in early November.

However, to ensure donated toys are sorted on time for distribution in Mid-December, the Toy Appeal team ideally need to have a venue confirmed by mid-October. It is likely they will remain in the Big Yellow Self Storage centre if an alternative venue cannot be found.

The venue needs to be large enough to hold around 2,500 presents at any one time and also needs power and light.

Mrs Collins continued: “We are additionally asking people to consider sponsoring the appeal to help cover the cost of the Christmas sacks which hold gifts – and cost £1. Also, last year we had to go out and buy presents because we did not have any for some age groups. It came to around £2,000.”

Mrs Collins is also appealing for volunteers to commit to two mornings a week for the six week preparation process, to help with the sorting and delivery process.

She added: “It is incredibly important as without volunteers we cannot do it. Some of it is physical, but a lot of it just requires a team to double check the stock.”

A dedicated website shall go live at the beginning of November to list the points where toys can be donated.

To get involved, call Mrs Collins on 077480 74811 or email karen.collins@mayorstoyappeal.christmas

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter