People and businesses in Southampton helped to bring a difficult year to a brighter close for children in the city by donating a record number of gifts to Southampton City Council's annual Toy Appeal in partnership with Westquay
The appeal, which has now been an annual fixture for a number of years, was set up to ensure that young people who are supported by Southampton City Council's children's services have a special gift to open, whatever their circumstances.
An astonishing 21,661 toys were donated to help put a smile on the faces of the city's children between Wednesday 2 December and Sunday 20 December 2020 - more than double the 10,600 toys that were donated to the appeal in 2019. This fantastic result was achieved despite the appeal taking place under unusual circumstances including a shorter window for members of the public to donate - with most non-essential retail having only reopened at the beginning of December - meaning that the start of the appeal was delayed from its usual November start.
Following an outstanding display of generosity by members of the public who turned up in droves to donate gifts at the collection point in Westquay, as well as the kind generosity of other local supporters including Southampton Football Club, the record haul of toys was distributed to children over the festive period by council staff.
Councillor Christopher Hammond, Leader of Southampton City Council, said:
"Despite a difficult and challenging year for so many, the people and businesses of Southampton have outdone themselves again this year and shown their generosity and kindness to children in the city. I'd like to thank everyone who supported the appeal and made it possible to bring some festive cheer to children who might have been facing difficult circumstances. A huge thank you as well to Westquay and other partner organisations who helped make this possible."
Laura Read, General Manager, Westquay said:
"It was a privilege to work once again with Southampton City Council on this incredible initiative. We know that many more families struggled this Christmas and we're thrilled that the community donated more generously than ever. We're proud and pleased that Westquay was able to play a role in helping the community this Christmas and hope these gifts brightened up the Christmas of many children."