Shields Gazette 2021 Christmas Toy Appeal launches - how you can help

Today sees the launch of the Gazette's 2021 Christmas Toy Appeal run in partnership with the charity Hope 4 Kidz.

For many families in the area the run-up to the big day is still one of worry – and the pandemic continues to mean that this year the need for help is greater than it has ever been.

So, as people gear up for the festive season, we are once again asking you find a little extra – and buy just one more gift while you are out doing the festive season shopping to help bring a smile to a child’s face on Christmas Day.

This is the eighth year that the Gazette – along with our sister paper the Sunderland Echo - has teamed up with Hope 4 Kidz - which helps disabled and disadvantaged young people across the region.

Some of what you donated to the last Hope 4 Kidz Christmas Toy Appeal

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Last year – thanks to your generosity – over 4,500 children woke up to something special on Christmas Day – a present many of them would otherwise not have received.

Hope 4 Kidz chief executive, Viv Watts, said: “The last 18 months has been very difficult for charities raising funds and supporting people in need.

"The amazing generosity of people in the area and local businesses has shone through and we are asking for one more effort to make sure that children in hospitals, refuges and young carers get something at Christmas.”

She added: “Last year the generosity of people in the area helped us support 4,799 children with gifts, toys and selection boxes to a value of over £30,000.

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Hope 4 Kidz chief executive Viv Watts

"That was a staggering effort in the circumstances and each and every donation meant something to a child.

"It would be fantastic to do it again.

"Let’s make Christmas another record year for children and their families in special circumstances.”

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Gary Oliver, Editor of JPIMedia North East, said: “Every year our readers astound us with their generosity to our annual appeal and we hope that this year will be no exception.

The Gazette Toy Appeal logo

"We appreciate how difficult times are for many families at the moment and thank you all in advance for the wonderful way in which you respond to our appeal.”

Drop off points have already been set up at shops and supermarkets all over the area and people are being invited to buy one extra toy or selection box and leave them in the collection bins and trolleys.

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People are asked not to wrap the donations – this will be done by the charity before they are handed out.

Drop off points in South Tyneside are at Morrisons, in Ocean Road, South Shields: The Gym, at Crossgates and Café Mio, in Sunderland Road.

Other drop off points are at Sainsburys in Washington, Sunderland North and Silksworth; Morrisons Doxford Park; Tesco The Bridges; Wilkinsons, Hays Travel, in Vine Place; Peter Heron, Fulwell; The Hub, Washington; and Santander, in Waterloo Place.

In addition, a number of businesses support the appeal every year, collecting gifts and selections boxes from colleagues and clients – including the Barclays Call Centres and Arriva.

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The last day for donations is Sunday December 19.

For more information about the appeal to collect gifts or to become an organisation beneficiary, email [email protected] with contact number and organisation details.