Every year, Community Links and the Newham Recorder work together to collect toys to give to underprivileged children at Christmas. For the 39th year, our friend and former editor of the Newham Recorder, Colin Grainger is with us once again supporting the appeal which he helped to launch and has been a part of ever since. In this blog, Colin Grainger writes about the importance of our Christmas Toy Appeal and how you can support it.
Photo Credit: Archant/ Ken Mears
This week sees the launch of a special community appeal that has has shown the true soul of life in Newham for the last 40 years. And the success of the Community Links and Newham Recorder Christmas Toy Appeal shows how much we look after each other in this special part of London.
I hope you can help support the incredible kind of outreach work that has helped change the lives of young people who are at risk through no fault of their own.
I first helped launch the Community Links and Newham Recorder Christmas Toy Appeal as a reporter on the paper and did so throughout all my roles there, especially in the last 15 I spent there as Editor. But the special pull of the campaign means it never leaves your heart, even if you leave the workplace you spent most of your working life at.
We have helped thousands of children over those years and the appeal is just as relevant today. The need has grown with the campaign and we need to collect the equivalent of 18,000 toys. Over the coming weeks, Community Links and the Recorder are coming together again for the campaign to reach out to thousands of vulnerable children, families and adults.
Christmas can be a time of stress and isolation. But this appeal helps Community Links strengthen communities and raise aspirations, making Christmas special and futures brighter. So I ask for you to find it in your heart to add some special youngsters to your Christmas shopping list this year. When you buy gifts for loved ones and friends, please add another gift – for a child in Newham. All toys need to be new and unwrapped and can be for any age up to 16. In particular, the appeal is always short of toys for teenagers.
Each year the pressure mounts to reach the target, but we have always made it. Hundreds of celebrities and people in the public eye, including the Royal household, have helped us. Businesses do their bit. Newham Council are always there to help. It is an appeal that involves people from all walks of life.
Please give a toy so that together we can fill those empty sacks and ensure that Christmas Day is special this year for every child in Newham.
I shall be doing my usual 50 lengths sponsored swim so if you want to sponsor me please feel free to do so. I am trying to raise £250. You can donate by going to my Just Giving page here.
What to give
Gifts should not promote war or violence, and should ideally be both fun and educational.
• Story books for all ages,
• All types of craft sets, model kits, jigsaws, stationery and coloured pencils.
• Dolls and accessories.
• Cars and car sets for all ages.
• Boxed board games.
• Lego, Duplo and other construction sets.
• £5/£10 fashion or sports vouchers.
• Compilation CDs.
• DVDs of children’s films.
• Toys from newborn to three years and early years toys from three to five years.
Where to give
• Beckton Library, 1 Kingsford Way, Beckton. Open Mon – Sat 10.30am – 8pm.
• Beckton Community Centre, 14 East Ham Manor Way, Beckton. Open Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm.
• Canning Town Library, Barking Road, Canning Town. Open Mon – Sat 10.30am – 8pm.
• Custom House Library, Prince Regent Lane, Custom House. Open Mon, Tues, Sat 9.30am – 5.30pm, Thurs 1pm – 8pm.
• East Ham Library, 328 Barking Road, East Ham. Open Mon – Fri 9am -8pm, Sat 9.30am – 8pm.
• Field Community Centre, 147 Station Road, Forest Gate. Open Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm.
• Grass Roots, Grassroots Children’s Centre, Memorial Park, Memorial Avenue, Stratford. Open Mon – Fri 10am to 4pm.
• Green Street Library, 337-341 Green Street, Upton Park. Open Mon – Sat 10.30am – 8pm.
• The Gate Library, 2-6 Woodgrange Road, Forest Gate. Open Mon – Sat 10.30am – 8pm.
• The Hub, 123 Star Lane, Canning Town. Open Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm.
• Jack Cornwell Community Centre, Jack Cornwell Street, Manor Park. Open Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm.
• Jeyes Community Centre, 1 James Close, Plaistow. Open Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm.
• Katherine Road Community Centre, 254 Katherine Road, Forest Gate. Open Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm.
• Manor Park Library, 685 – 693 Romford Road, Manor Park. Open Mon – Sat 10.30am – 8pm.
• Plaistow Library, North Street, Plaistow. Open Mon, Tues, Sat 9.30am – 5.30pm, Weds and Fri 9.30am – 5pm, Thurs 1pm – 8pm.
• Stratford Library, 3 The Grove, Stratford. Open Mon – Sat 9.30am – 8pm, Sun 1pm – 5pm.
• North Woolwich Library, 5 Pier Parade, North Woolwich. Mon, Tues, Sat 9.30am – 5.30pm, Thurs 1pm – 8pm.
• Newham Bookshop, 745 – 747 Barking Road, Plaistow. Open Tues – Sat, 10am to 4pm.
• St Bartholomew’s Church Centre, 292 Barking Road, East Ham. Open Mon – Fri 10am – 5pm.
• Theatre Royal Box Office, Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford. Open Mon – Sat 10am – 5pm, or until the start of that evening’s show.
• Community Links, 105 Barking Road, Canning Town. Open Mon – Fri 9am – 5.30pm.
• Community Links ASTA Hub, 14 Camel Road, Silvertown. Open Mon – Fri, 10am – 3pm.
• Arc in the Park, Hermit Road Park, Bethell Avenue.Open Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm.
• EAT 16, St Lukes Community Centre, 87 Tarling Road, Canning Town. Open Mon – Fri 8am – 3pm.