Councillor praises "very successful" South Tyneside Christmas toy donation event
Around 100 local people are expected to be helped by a weekend Christmas toy donation which took place in South Tyneside over the last weekend.
Last year saw the first ever event held at Ocean Road Community Centre in South Shields and was deemed a success that councillors from the South Tyneside Green Party ran it again on Saturday, November 26.
"It was a really lovely day and very successful" said Councillor Sarah McKeown, who assisted with the hosting of the event. "Lots of families came through the door from all around south Tyneside, though mainly from Beacon and Bents.
"It was open to all but we had advertised particularly in local schools and food banks as well as more widely on social media.
"I would definitely say we got a fair few more than last time."
"We really wanted to do something practical to help people in the cost of living crisis. We also wanted to give a new lease of life to toys that may have ended up in landfill."
The event was run on a ‘no money needed’ basis – parents and carers were invited to drop in and take what items they can use for free.
"We think we helped around 100 local people, with some families getting most of what they needed for Christmas" explained McKeown.
"Others with new babies were able to get items such as a cot, side sleeper, Moses basket etc as well as baby clothes and toys."
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"People were very generous donating high quality toys which were very gratefully received. Many schools in the borough participated in the collection as well as individual residents and we would like to say a heartfelt thank you!"
Any remaining toys will be distributed to local children’s charities, schools and women's aid.
This has been the second year of the pre-Christmas event, with organisers hoping it will be able to run on for as long as it is needed.
"We would definitely like to run it next year. In its form it would be a Christmas event moving forwards but there may be opportunities throughout the year for us to focus on other things.
"This particular event is one which has proven to be really popular."