Toybank campaign launched to buy gifts for children in Scotland who receive nothing at Christmas

A nationwide campaign has been launched to provide Christmas presents for thousands of children across Scotland who need support during the festive period.

Working with Children 1st and Scottish Women's Aid, the annual Toybank Appeal aims to provide a toy or gift voucher to young people who may otherwise receive nothing at Christmas.

The initiative, organised by the Glasgow-based Sarwar Foundation, is now in its eighth year and is also being supported by PFA Scotland and its members.

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With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to cause hardship and having a disproportionate impact on those already struggling to get by, the group’s involved have said this year’s appeal is larger than ever.

Campaign launched to get presents for children needing support this festive period picture: JPI Media
Campaign launched to get presents for children needing support this festive period picture: JPI Media

Previous appeals have enabled a mother living in refuge to give her three children Christmas gifts after being forced to leave their home; a teenager supported by Scottish

Women's Aid was able to use their gift voucher to buy an outfit for a school party, and a family supported by Children 1st enjoyed a visit to Santa.

Retailers can also donate new toys to the appeal, and donation points for toys are being set up at Glasgow supermarkets.

Ash Kuloo, member services manager at Scottish Women’s Aid, said: “We are delighted to see the Toybank Appeal partnering with local Women’s Aid groups again this year to help make Christmas special for women, children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse.

“Our local network of Women’s Aid groups across Scotland support and advocate for women, children and young people and provide practical and emotional support.

“This year they have had to radically redesign their services to meet the pressures of the pandemic.

“Partnerships like this one help the groups in their continued work to make a meaningful, lasting difference for women, children and young people.”

In 2019, the campaign extended beyond Glasgow across Scotland for the first time, with around 1,000 toys and vouchers handed out.

The aim is to double that this year, with charities identifying even more families who need help – including children who will spend Christmas in refuge accommodation, having been forced to leave their homes due to domestic abuse.

Julie Richardson, Children 1st assistant director in Glasgow, said: “Giving a child a happy Christmas is the greatest gift you can give. Your generous support for the Sarwar Foundation will give children and families, who have been stretched to breaking point by this terrible pandemic, some much needed relief and Christmas cheer.

“A huge thank you to everyone who is supporting this year’s Toybank Appeal.”

Fraser Wishart, chief executive of PFA Scotland, said: “The Coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on everyone this year and we know this year’s Christmas is going to be a particularly difficult time for families across the country.

“The Toybank Appeal slogan of ‘Every Child Deserves a Christmas’ really hit home with our management committee, especially those with children of their own, and they wanted to do something to help those who will struggle during the festive season.

“We hope our donation will help put a smile on the faces of children across the country on Christmas morning.”

You can donate directly to the Sarwar Foundation Christmas Toybank Appeal by clicking here.

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