Community Links and Newham Recorder Christmas Toy YOU can help

We have just launched the Community Links and Newham Recorder Christmas Toy Appeal; Here’s how you can help.

In many senses this has been the most exciting of all years for many of us born and bred in Newham.

It was the year we welcomed the world and showed off everything that is good about our borough.

The Olympics, and more so for thousands of local people, the Paralympic Games, showed us at our best. Kind, considerate, welcoming and proud of being a Cockney.

Don’t mention it too loud, but many of us are still talking to each other, some Tube travellers are still smiling and exchanging pleasantries, and , I kid you not , a fellow motoring even gave way to me on the Barking Road, the other day!

Sport has the power to change lives, and I firmly believe that’s exactly what those special weeks did for us.

Mayor Sir Robin Wales has carried on preaching the gospel that we have to maintain our time in the spotlight, and not let it just become something we tell our grandchildren about.

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I believe we can be loud and proud for many years, and we can retain that goodwill and spirit and be strong enough to change our futures.

And so it is today that I ask you, our wonderful army of Newham Recorder readers, to help change the lives of some young ones who are at risk through no fault of their own.

Every year that I start to write this message for what is a truly special appeal, I do so with a sense of amazement…and fear. Every year I ask you to help me prove what a special place Newham is, and every year I have been at the Newham Recorder you have never let me down.

Much of our community is still living in poverty. Yet I believe the community spirit I believe is a strong as ever. And it is that spirit we saw in the summer that I want to evoke as we launch into something which we believe with a passion will change lives for the better.

The paper that I joined 40 years and two months ago , the Newham Recorder, and our partners Community Links are combining again in a very special appeal to reach out to thousands of vulnerable children, families and adults.

Christmas can be a time of stress and isolation as we still have over half ouor children living in poverty. But Community Links looks to strengthen communities and raise aspirations at this time, making Christmas special and futures brighter.

Links is a truly remarkable organisation which does so much to enhance life in the our borough. I want you to include some very special people in your Christmas shopping budget and see it in your heart to add some special youngsters to your Christmas shopping list. When you buy gifts for loved ones and friends, please add another – for a child in Newham. If you give a special person some money for their own gift, perhaps you could put aside some money for a needy child.

For the 35th year we are proudly launching our Christmas Toy Appeal in conjunction with Community Links, who are at the very heart of local life.

When we started the campaign all those years ago we had a target of 500 toys, which we thought would be so hard. But we did, thanks to the fantastic readers of this paper, which is still the heartbeat of Newham.

As the paper and Community Links have grown, so has the target.

In the weeks before Christmas last year, the community helped us find a record 15,000 toys, which were distributed to needy children locally over Christmas – the highest total ever.Through the years we have had celebrities from all over the world support our appeal, yet the small donation from a child or a pensioner is what I think helps make Newham a special place.

The business community also make a great response.Together last year’s appeal provided gifts for over 3,500 children to open on Christmas morning.

Over 1,000 children had a once-in-a-lifetime Christmas party, and 1,500 children had the opportunity of experiencing a pantomime.

And another 70 families at risk and 50 senior citizens living alone had a seasonal food hamper to help them through Christmas.

This year Links have some great ideas on how you can help. See their website

You can also download posters to help you promote the Toy Appeal and a full list of ideas for your own festive fund-raising events.Most in need. If you would like to discuss getting your company to stage a programme of activities in advance please see the Community Links website.

Our appeal aims to provide a bag of gifts to open on Christmas morning for children who are referred by a combination of East London’s caring agencies and family support groups, ensuring that the Appeal helps those most in need at Christmas.

Contact Links by phone, call in, e-mail or go directly to their website for details of what you can do,.Please help prove that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in Newham.

All toys need to be new and unwrapped and can be for any age up to 16. In particular, the appeal is always short of toys for teenagers.

Many youngsters who benefited from campaigns years ago are now workers or volunteers at Links. It is a philosophy that has stood the test of time: helping and enabling people to help themselves.

We promise that every pound donated will be turned into toys for children in Newham. Every toy will be wrapped and distributed by volunteers vto youngsters who can then enjoy the magic of Christmas. On the facing page and over the coming weeks you will see details of the drop-off points we have set-up.You can stage your own event to raise funds for the appeal or come along to the events we will be mentioning

over the coming weeks.

My long association with this paper comes to an end next week and it has been my privilege to be part of this special appeal.

I leave the appeal in the cabable hands of a very talented newsteam and new co-ordinator Melissa York and I am sure she and the team will guide the appeal to success.

This is a truly local appeal for youngsters who run the risk of missing out on this special time of year.Please keep reading over the coming weeks as you and your family prepare to celebrate Christmas. We welcome every gift, from the youngest person with the smallest amount to the most generous and biggest of benefactors. It reflects our special multi-ethnic community. Please organise a toy collection in your home or office; raise money at your Christmas party; or simply buy a new toy and drop it off or send us your money. If you want to send us a cheque,

please make it payable to Community Links.

We cannot do this without you. Please do all you can.


Kevin Jenkins of our appeal partners Community Links, writes: As such a momentous year for Newham draws to a close, it is important to remember that there are many Newham children who will be waking up on Christmas morning to an empty Christmas stocking this year.

I know it is probably hard to understand why this is the case but please believe me, for the many many families experiencing the ravages of poverty on a daily basis, desperately trying to pay the next bill or find the next meal, their situation does not change at Christmas.

In Newham over 50 per cent of our children continue to live in poverty. Poverty takes no prisoners, it respects no boundary or individual – once poverty takes hold it drains the confidence, esteem and aspirations from individuals – forever tightening its grip.

Poverty can hit anyone at anytime – the loss of employment, the loss of a parent, a long term illness can push a family onto the downward poverty spiral through no fault of their own.

At Christmas the grip of poverty is at its tightest. Already shops are full of gifts, supermarkets full of seasonal food and every other advert on the TV features this years toys to have – but for each of the families we are trying to help, they know deep down that Christmas Day for them will be the same as any other day of the year.

I know times are tough for everyone at the moment but I ask everyone who can – individuals, businesses, schools, clubs, churches, organisations to give a toy because together we can fill those empty sacks and ensure that Christmas Day is a real Christmas Day this yea for every child in Newham.

Together we can make the difference.

I thank you for being part of that difference.

Kevin Jenkins

Senior Advisor – Community Links

************************************************************************************************************************There is a network of drop-off points all over

Newham where you can leave toys. These are


NEWHAM RECORDER: The reception desk, Media House, 539, High Road, Ilford, 9am to 5.30pm weekdays.

COMMUNITY LINKS: Main Centre, Barking Road, Canning Town, 9am to 6pm weekdays.

COMMUNITY LINKS CENTRAL PARK CENTRE: 2 Central Park Road, East Ham, during opening hours.

COMMUNITY LINKS ASTA CENTRE: Camel Road, Silvertown, 9am to 6pm weekdays.

COMMUNITY LINKS ROKEBY CENTRE: Rokeby Street, Stratford, 9am to 6pm weekdays.

NEWHAM CITY FARM, Stansfeld Road, Beckton, during opening hours.

ASDA SUPERSTORE: Tollgate Road, Beckton, during store opening hours.

THE LORD STANLEY PUB: St. Mary’s Road, Plaistow, during opening hours.

THEATRE ROYAL, STRATFORD: Gerry Raffles Square, during opening hours.

LORD LISTER HEALTH CENTRE: Woodgrange Road, Forest Gate, 9am to 5pm weekdays.

NEWHAM BOOKSHOP: Barking Road, Upton Park, 9.30am to 5pm, during opening hours.

ST MARK’S CHURCH AND CENTRE: Lorne Road, Forest Gate, during centre opening hours.

WEST HAM UNITED SUPPORTERS CLUB: Castle Street, Upton Park, during opening hours.

ST BARTHOLOMEW’S CHURCH AND CENTRE: Barking Road/ St Bartholmew’s , East Ham, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

EAST HAM TOWN HALL: Barking Road, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

THE OLD TOWN HALL: Stratford Broadway, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

BECKTON GLOBE LIBRARY: Kingsford Way, Beckton, during opening hours.

CANNING TOWN LIBRARY: Barking Road, Canning Gown, during opening hours.

CUSTOM HOUSE LIBRARY: Prince Regent Lane, Custom House, during opening hours.

EAST HAM LIBRARY:High Street South, East Ham, during opening hours.

LIBRARY AND LOCAL SERVICE CENTRE AT THE GATE: Woodgrange Road, Forest Gate, during opening hours.

GREEN STREET LIBRARY: Green Street, Upton Park, during opening hours.

MANOR PARK LIBRARY: Romford Road, Manor Park, during opening hours.

NORTH WOOLWICH LIBRARY: Pier Parade, North Woolwich, during opening hours.

NEWHAM ARCHIVES AND LOCAL STUDIES LIBRARY: The Grove, Stratford during opening hours.

PLAISTOW LIBRARY: North Street, Plaistow during opening hours.

STRATFORD LIBRARY: 3 The Grove, Stratford during opening hours.

PLAISTOW PARK COMMUNITY CENTRE: Queens Road West, Plaistow, during opening hours.


HOME: Romford Road, Forest Gate, during opening hours.

* We can arrange for toys to be collected if you wish to make a donation but are

housebound. Contact Kevin Jenkins, Paula Blake or reception at Community Links on

(020) 7473 2270. Alternatively, call Melissa York, Kay Atwal, Pat Coughtrey, Else Kvist or Colin Grainger on the Recorder’s Toy Appeal Desk on (020) 8478 4444. You can also make a cash donation. Send any cheques to Community Links and Newham Recorder Christmas Toy Appeal, Newham Recorder, 539, High Road, Ilford, Essex, IG11UD We promise that every penny given will be spent on brand new toys for needy youngsters in our community. Please make any cheques payable to Community Links.


Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of the appeal that is at the heart of life in Newham.

Come on down and join the quiz event of the year on December 6.

The quiz night competition is a chance to raise money for the Community Links and Newham Recorder

Christmas Toy Appeal.

Our annual challenge quiz will be held from 7.30pm.

Participants can arrive from 7pm at Links’ base in Barking Road, Canning Town.

It always provides tension, drama and above all else, fun. The Recorder’s own team will be there, as teams battle it out for the Maureen Allen memorial trophy.

Tables of eight cost just �75, which will enable one family of disadvantaged children to have a really special Christmas.

As well as the chance to hold the trophy for

a year, each member of the winning team will get a bottle of wine. There are also prizes for the last placed teams.

To enter call (020) 7473 2270 or email

Early booking is recommended.


Editor Colin Grainger will make his annual dip for charity, as he has done since 1976, swimming 50 lengths at Becontree Leisure Centre.

Any donation is welcome. If you want to sponsor Colin or send a donation, send it to: Melissa York, Newsroom, Newham Recorder Editorial, Media House, 539, High Road, Ilford,Essex, IG1 1UD. Cheques payable to Community Links.

You can stage a sponsored event for the appeal to raise cash. Editor Colin Grainger

will make his annual dip for charity, as he has done since 1976, swimming 50 lengths at Becontree Leisure Centre.

Any donation is welcome. If you want to sponsor Colin or send a donation, send it to: Melissa York, Newsroom, Newham Recorder Editorial, Media House, 539, High Road, Ilford,Essex, IG1 1UD. Cheques should be made payable to Community Links please.


Newham charity Community Links are staging a Christmas lunch to raise funds for

the appeal and buy new toys.

Places for the meal on Thursday December 13 have to be booked.

A meal of soup of the day or melon, turkey main course, sausages, ham, roast potatoes and sprouts and carrots, parsnips, and stuffing or a vegetarian alternative will be followed by mince pies or custard and trifle or fruit salad costs just �9, or �65 for a table of eight. Veggie options are available.

The meals are served between noon and 3pm, with last orders at 2.15pm.

This year the meal with be prepared and cooked by Jamie‘s Ministry of Food in Stratford. There will also be live entertaiment frokm the D’Ukes Ukulele Band, playing traditional Christmas songs and there will be a giant raffle

Phone (020) 7473 9685 or (020) 7473 2270 or e-mail for details.

If you want to stage an event or raise money for the appeal or collect toys, call (020) 7473 2270.

If you want to do your own sponsored swim, forms are available from Links main

office in Canning Town, or from the Recorder’s office in High Road, Ilford. If you want to find out more about the appeal or Links, tour their offices to find out about their fantastic work or offer help, call the same numbers.


Care group, Community Links are staging a Christmas on the Farm event at

Newham City Farm, Stansfeld Road, Beckton on December 15 and 16.

The event raises money for the farm, run by Links and funds for toys for the annual

Toy Appeal staged by Links and the Recorder.

It includes a nativity scene with attractions such as Father Christmas, Newham’s tallest Christmas tree, Nativity plays, workshops, refreshments, a Christmas farm

trail (with a winning prize for the children who complete) and of course carol

singing! n From noon until 4pm, there is table space available for

craft and seasonal products. Anyone interested, contact Kevin Jenkins

Newham charity Community Links have gone into the

Christmas tree help fund their day to day operations in the community.

Their social enterprise unit have launched the new development this year and

are asking businesses if they would consider getting their trees for their office premises from Links.Co-founder and senior advisor Kevin Jenkins said:

“The trees are from ethnical we can guarantee that they are top quality and will hold their needles throughout the festive period and will only

have been cut a few days before they are delivered. Delivery will be made on a day

of people’s choice.”

They will also be sold at Queens Market on November 30, December 1 , December 8 and 9 and December 15 and 16 and also at the Newham City Farm Funday.

You can also order them on line for the first time. Go to

Newham charity Community Links and the Newham Recorder send out a special

alert this week...we need to find Santas for our toy appeal!

Next month, we launch our Christmas Appeal for needy

children. An ability to get on well with children is essential. Full training and support is given and suit and beard! There will be an enhanced CRB check. Contact

Kevin Jenkins on (020) 7473 2270