Bumper year for 35th annual Southampton Toy Appeal

Big hearted Southampton’s generosity shines brightly

Year 6 pupil George with toy donations he organised at school

The 2023 Southampton Toy Appeal was the biggest ever with over 41,000 toys and gifts donated for children and young people in need.

Special thanks go to every individual, community organisation, charity and business who donated, for without you Christmas would have been a very different experience for so many.

The appeal brought together:

  • Westquay Shopping Centre
  • Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary
  • Saints Foundation (Southampton FC)
  • MAST Mayflower Studios
  • Micro-link
  • DP World
  • Co-op stores
  • One Stop shops
  • GP practices

We were also fortunate to have Christopher Biggins, McFly, Saints FC Ryan Manning and some of the cast members from A Christmas Carol all join us in making this year the best yet.

Huge thanks also go to IKEA and Go! Southampton for donating up to 1,000 toys and gifts as part of their #1000 kisses campaign.

George, a local Year 6 pupil even arranged a toy collection at his school, he said:

“It made me really sad to know there’s so many children in Southampton who wouldn’t get a present on Christmas Day without the appeal. I hope that by collecting gifts at my school, it helped put a big smile on lots of faces on Christmas morning.”

Colin McPherson, Toy Appeal Coordinator said:

“A huge thank you to everyone who helped to make a child or young person’s Christmas special. Many children will walk tall as they enter the school gates in the coming days and our young people will know that they are special too.”

Councillor Alex Winning, Cabinet Member for Children and Learning said:

“As the cost of living continues to affect many individuals and families, I am truly amazed by the incredible generosity shown by the community. Southampton is a very special place and this year’s toy appeal demonstrates just how warm and kind-hearted it really is. Thank you to everyone who donated.”

It took an incredible 582 volunteers from the council, Balfour Beatty, family and friends to sort and pack the toys and gifts which were distributed by social workers to children and young people across the city.

In addition to the appeal, local businesses contributed food to make over 100 hampers for our care leavers. The hampers, coordinated by Councillor Jacqui Rayment, enabled care leavers to enjoy small treats that many families have at home during the festive period.

If you want to get involved as a business, please contact the Toy Appeal Coordinator. As well as donating toys or vouchers, or providing vans to collect toys, we have a yearly challenge to find a large accessible room to use as our Toy Grotto, a place where we can sort toys before they are delivered. Can you help?