Christmas Toy Appeal: Help us to bring some joy into lives of vulnerable youngsters

It’s back! The Shropshire Star Christmas Toy Appeal, which has brought joy to thousands of youngsters since it was first launched seven years ago, returns after a short break.

Shropshire Star Christmas Toy Appeal
Shropshire Star Christmas Toy Appeal

Today marks the launch of our sixth toy appeal, and the first one since the coronavirus outbreak of 2020.

Since its launch in 2015, the appeal has distributed more than 5,000 gifts to sick, needy and disabled children.

And this year we are banking on our generous band of readers to once more bring a little Christmas joy to those who might be finding this Christmas a difficult time.

Donations

Once more we are asking people to donate brand new toys, games, books, CDs, toiletries and other gifts suitable for children and teenagers.

This year's appeal will, for the first time, see us team up with Shropshire-based brewery Joule's, with a number of its pubs collecting toys for the appeal.

Donations will be shared among four organisations which work with young people in the county: Telford Young Carers, The Harry Johnson Trust, the children’s ward at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals trust, and The Movement Centre.

Telford Young Carers provides support for children and teenagers who care for a loved one who might be suffering from a serious illness or disability, while The Harry Johnson Trust helps children who are being treated for cancer, as well as their families.

The Movement Centre, based in Gobowen, provides pioneering therapies for children with cerebral palsy and other movement-related conditions.

Ann Norwood, therapy assistant at the charity, was delighted the appeal had returned.

“We are truly grateful to everyone that donates to this wonderful toy appeal," she said.

"The toys that we receive from the toy appeal are so important and make such a difference to the children that come to The Movement Centre."

Ms Norwood added: "The toys help the children to engage in their therapy sessions both at the centre and at home, particularly the toys that make a sound or have lights.” Laura Thorogood, of Telford Young Carers, said caring for a loved one with a serious illness or disability often placed great stress on young people.

"Often the families are stretched all year round, and young carers have all sorts of issues to deal with, meaning they have little time for play or leisure.

Caring

"The toys as a result of this appeal will be gratefully received to help the children have their own time, other than being in their caring roles."

Sally Johnson, who founded The Harry Johnson Trust in memory of her son who died aged seven in 2014, said Christmas was often a difficult time for the families of children with cancer.

“Very often, when a child is diagnosed with cancer it means that one or both of the parents will have to give up work, and that may mean there is very little money left for Christmas," she said.

“From big toy trucks to little nail varnish sets, everything we have received has been given to a local child with cancer by the ward staff who know them so well.”

Shropshire Star editor-in-chief Martin Wright said he was delighted the Christmas Toy Appeal was returning.

“It has been a privilege to have taken part in something which has meant so much to so many young lives since it was first launched.

"Sadly, the coronavirus meant we were unable to hold the appeal during the past two years, so we're all so pleased that we can now do it once more."

WHERE TO TAKE YOUR TOYS

  • Shropshire Star, Grosvenor House, Central Park, Hollinswood Road, Telford, TF2 9TW

  • Telford & Wrekin CVS, Hazeldine House, Central Square, Telford TF3 4JL

  • Red Lion, Great Hales Street, Market Drayton, TF9 1JP

  • King's Arms, 53, High Street, Church Stretton, SY6 6BY

  • Crown Wharf, Crown Street, Stone, ST15 8QN

  • The White Horse, 7, Wenlock Rd, Shrewsbury, SY2 6JJ

Please ensure your donations are new or as-new.

CHARITIES THAT WILL BENEFIT

  • Children's ward, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust

Toys will be distributed among children who will be in the hospital over the Christmas period. Our last appeal provided a present for every child who was in hospital over Christmas Day.

  • The Harry Johnson Trust

Founded by Sally and Stephen Johnson in memory of their son Harry, this charity supports about 50 children with cancer across Shropshire and Mid Wales.

The charity provides a hamper of essential items for each child admitted to the cancer unit at Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital, as well as treats and short breaks in the Shropshire area for the children and their families.

  • The Movement Centre

Based at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Gobowen, this charity uses a pioneering therapy to help children with mobility problems caused by illnesses such as cerebral palsy. In the past, the toy appeal has been able to provide the youngsters with 'sensory' gifts, such as those which make sounds or light up, which have helped the children with their therapy.

  • Telford Young Carers

This charity provides support for children who have to care for others. This may be a brother, sister, mother or father who is suffering from an illness or disability. The charity says young carers often feel socially isolated, so it organises events where they can meet other youngsters going through similar experiences.

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