The Kevin Jenkins OBE Newham Christmas Toy Appeal has received its first donations.  

The appeal - by charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve (AAA) in partnership with the Recorder - was launched on November 9 for the 45th year running.  

It collects gifts and cash in the festive season to ensure local children and families get items on Christmas Day which they would likely otherwise go without.  

The first donation came from Newham Bookshop in Barking Road, Upton Park where Vivian Archer and her team handed over new books. 

Vivian said: “Newham Bookshop has supported the Christmas Toy Appeal for over 35 years, we feel it is our responsibility as a local trader to support this vital initiative. 

“This year will be more important than ever. Thank you to everyone involved in the campaign as always for doing what you do.” 

AAA said referrals indicate this year’s campaign has become even more necessary amid the cost-of-living crisis,  

Last year, the initiative helped almost 3,000 children

The bookshop’s John Newman handed over the first donation to appeal co-ordinator Paula Blake. 

Paula said: “The appeal looks to strengthen communities and raise aspirations, making Christmas special and futures brighter. 

“We are now seeing the long-term effects on people’s health of the last few years – especially their mental health.” 

AAA said it has been promised donations from a variety of sources, but a spokesperson said it “needs to turn that trickle into a tide”. 

The appeal was launched last week by West Ham United Women stars Viviane Asseyi and Grace Fisk.  

They visited AAA’s Terence Brown Arc in the Park in Canning Town and met children who help out with the appeal, dubbed Santa’s Helpers.  

Paula added: “All donations small and big will make a difference in helping us provide gifts to those who need it most. 

“We want to provide Christmas packages of new gifts appropriate to each child’s age, abilities, needs and, if possible, their most wished for gift to open on Christmas Day.” 

Anyone who would like to donate new toys to the appeal can do so at the Terence Brown Arc in the Park hub in Bethell Avenue, Canning Town, from 9am until 5pm on Mondays to Fridays and between 10am and 2pm on Saturdays.  

Alternatively, buy a gift on AAA's Amazon wish list here, which has been curated to be suitable for those recieving donations.  

People can also donate money on a JustGiving page here.