The ELBA Toy Appeal 2020 – Let’s end the year on a high!

“One little girl could not stop jigging and dancing when she saw her doll. She was so happy she just kept saying ‘WOW!’”

This year, 2020, has been unlike any other, not for one person or country but for all globally. The need for community and a sense of togetherness is needed more than ever. While it has been a challenging year for many, at ELBA we want to end the year on a high. As we enter the final months of the year, we’re gearing up for our annual Toy Appeal, which brings a bit of happiness to children in east London and Islington at Christmas.

It is not right that in some parts of east London, over 50% of children live in poverty. Each year, we ask corporate employees to donate toys to children who wouldn’t normally receive a toy at Christmas due to their circumstances. Toys donated to the appeal are distributed to a range of organisations who work with families and children experiencing hardship such as families who flee from domestic violence, those living in emergency temporary accommodation, refugees, and children with disabilities and additional needs.

Last year’s Toy Appeal was a great success with almost 10,000 toys donated and distributed to children in east London and Islington. This year however, the Toy Appeal will be looking different due to COVID-19. The pandemic has impacted communities leaving many families unemployed and without a source of income, seeking benefits, and in crisis. The festive period can be an expensive time of year and even more stressful during a time of such uncertainty. For many families, giving their child a toy during Christmas is a luxury they cannot afford. The unprecedented circumstances faced this year means more children may not receive a toy at home than ever before.

More so, many have been deprived of attending their regular centres, clubs and activities which are usually bustling during this time. With the lockdown, isolation and school closures, this time of the year, which is recognised as one of festive merriment, may not be inciting this feeling right now. While community organisations aren’t able to hold their usual social events for Christmas, they are still providing vital services to their local community. Toy House, a charity based near Mile End, told us:

“We are very sad that Covid has resulted in parties not being able to happen as these are such popular events for the children and families. We still plan to deliver toys to the families we support. They are so essential to give families that are struggling a sense of normality at Christmas.”

We believe that in our society, every child deserves to feel joy at Christmas, regardless of their background or financial situation. The impact of COVID-19 has increased the need for toys more than ever this year so we want to make this year’s appeal the BIGGEST yet. We have a number of ways people can donate online – please get in touch with us to find out more. This year, Canary Wharf Group have kindly let us base our grotto in Jubilee Place shopping centre so you can also visit us to drop off a gift.

Each toy donated goes to an individual child and we support a wide range of organisations from children’s and community centres to hospital wards, food banks, primary schools, adventure playgrounds and women’s refuges. Your donation will take the pressure off a family that is struggling and bring a smile to a child’s face. A support worker shared the joy felt by a mother:

““Giving out toys was such a big surprise for them; the mother was in tears. She was very happy and felt that she was blessed to have found us. The children’s excitement was contagious.”

For more information, please contact Shifa Uddin at

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