This year's Action Together Toy Appeal, supported by your Tameside Reporter and Tameside Radio, has been more successful than ever.
Thanks to the amazing generosity of local businesses and residents, the response has been truly 'phenomenal', smashing all previous records with more toys than ever being donated for children living in poverty across the borough.
Even when the appeal officially closed to allow presents to be wrapped and distributed to families most in need this Christmas, donations kept coming in.
A huge thanks this week goes to everyone who donated or played a part in the appeal in any way to help deliver some much-needed Christmas cheer in the most difficult of years.
Action Together’s Lisa Hannibal said: “We have absolutely smashed our records in every aspect, the response to this year’s Toy Appeal has been phenomenal.
“We were aiming for the same number of toys as last year which was 4,500, but that has grown to more than 10,000 - it’s amazing - and we have gone past £3,000 on the JustGiving page as well.”
Lisa thanked all of the wonderful volunteers who had helped Action Together, praising them for the work they have done.
“We’ve had a massive team of volunteers posting our leaflets through front doors and returning to collect toy donations.
“We have had well over 100 volunteers and the generosity and kindness shown by the people of Tameside is so heartwarming - I have spent a lot of time crying because I was so happy. It’s just fantastic.
“I want to say thank you to everyone who volunteered as part of the Toy Appeal and to the people and businesses who have donated and all the businesses who have supported us - there are so many people who have been involved in this year’s Toy Appeal.”
One example of a business supporting the appeal is Stalybridge chemical company Stepan, which donated £800 to the appeal as well as £200 worth of toys, including chemistry sets.
Stepan was just one of many Tameside businesses to have supported the appeal and have supported the community this year in other ways – including donating to food banks, providing free meals to local schoolchildren in the holidays, and delivering free food parcels to the vulnerable.
Tameside Council Executive Member Cllr Oliver Ryan, who leads on finance and economic growth, joined Action Together volunteers to collect the toys from Stepan and take them to the nearby Ridge Hill Children’s Centre to distribute to local children and young people living in poverty.
He said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to Tameside businesses that have shown tremendous community spirit throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We want to recognise this fantastic support and also ask our local community to give local businesses some support back where they can by shopping local and using local tradespeople.
“I’m proud of the local response to the pandemic from residents, community groups and businesses and how closely we’ve all been supporting each other through these difficult times.”
Karen McLauchlan, Action Together community development manager, added: “This year has been more of a challenge than usual, but once again our communities have responded with incredible positivity, generosity, and kindness.
“We’d like to say a massive thank you to all the people, charities, businesses, partners, and other organisations who’ve supported, volunteered or donated to the appeal this year. You make our boroughs the special places they are!”
George Forrest, site manager at Stepan UK Ltd, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to help a local charity make a real a difference to children’s lives on Christmas Day.
“We are very proud to make this contribution and help with such a worthy cause.”
Another business playing their part was Ampulla Packaging Ltd and Amphorea Packaging Ltd, based on Halton Street, Hyde, which collected more than £2,000 worth of toys for children (see main picture) who would have otherwise gone without this December.
It’s £500 more than the company raised last year, thanks to hard work by staff and management.
Denise Miller, director at Ampulla Packaging, said: “Merry Christmas from Ampulla!
“Christmas looks a little different this year, but we’re doing our bit to help make it special by donating a range of toys to local families.
“We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.”