Please help our Christmas Toy Appeal 2010

EVERY YEAR I ask you to help me prove what a special place East London is...and every year I have been at the Recorder you have delivered.

Twelve months ago I said there was every chance it could be one of the toughest Christmases for many years. And following recent Government decisions, the crisis faced by many will get even harder.

But now is the time to set that aside and turn to something which we believe with a passion will change lives for the better. And we need your help. We need you to ensure we have an appeal with the X-mas (present) Factor!

The Newham Recorder, with which I have been associated for 38 years, and our partners Community Links are combining again in a very special appeal reaching out to thousands of vulnerable children, families and adults.

In Newham, where half of our children still live in poverty, Christmas can be a time of stress and isolation. But Community Links look to strengthen communities and raise aspirations at this time, making Christmas special and futures brighter.

Links are a remarkable organisation doing much to enhance life in the borough.

I urge you to help with this most important appeal we have been running for more than three decades. I ask from the bottom of my heart that you include some very special people in your Christmas shopping budget.

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When you buy gifts for loved ones and friends, please add another – for a child in Newham. If you give a special person money for their own gift, perhaps you could put aside some money for a needy child.

For the 34th year we are proudly launching our Christmas Toy Appeal in conjunction with Community Links, a care group at the very heart of local life.

When we started, we had a target of 500 toys, which I thought we would never reach. As the paper and Community Links have grown, so has the target. Last year, the community helped us find a record 13,500 toys, which were distributed to needy children locally.

Through the years we have had celebrities support our appeal. Yet the small donation by a senior citizen or pocket money from a child is what I think helps make Newham a special place.

The business community also response magnificently. Last year’s appeal provided gifts for more than 3,500 children on Christmas morning.

Nearly 1,000 youngsters enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime Christmas party, and 1,500 experienced a pantomime. And another 60 families at risk and 50 senior citizens living alone received a seasonal food hamper .

This year Links have some great ideas on how you can help. See their website You can find out about Secret Santa, download posters to promote the appeal and a full list of ideas for your own festive fund-raising events.

If you would like to discuss getting your company to stage a programme of activities in advance please see Community Links’ website.

Contact Links by phone, call in, e-mail or go to their website for details of what you can do, including the ‘How to Run a Christmas Quiz Night’ pack, complete with questions to use.

All toys must be new, unwrapped and for up to 16 years. 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.

Links and the Recorder promise that every pound donated will be turned into toys. 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 attend events we will be mentioning over the coming weeks.

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 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...we need your help and we need it now. Thank you.


BECKTON’S Asda Superstore is a stalwart of the Christmas Toy Appeal – this is the 28th time it has made the first donation.

This week we were sleighed by kindness once again as the store’s staff proved their generosity and commitment to those who might otherwise miss out.

Customer Services and People Services Manager Joanne Tires said: “We are always happy to help with this important local appeal.

“Our customers remind us every year how important it is. With their help, we always try to support as many local causes as possible.”

Store manager David Wright said: “The appeal is very close to the hearts of everyone at Asda. Everyone does their bit – we are behind you all the way!”

An Asda trolley was full of gifts, including cuddly toys and games. Paula Blake, of Community Links, was on hand to accept the gifts. She said: “It’s a great start for the campaign.”

As well as being the first to donate, the store is also part of our network of drop-off points. A full list of venues, where you can leave gifts or cash, is on the facing page.

Pictured are Asda colleagues Nicki Bailey, Amit Narman, Naz Hussain, Marie Paule and Donna Pridlove with Paula and the toys.


A message from our partners, Community Links

THE last year has seen unparalleled (and for so many, unexpected) negative changes to the standards of living for so many families locally. And the future holds more fear for them and many others.

The real human consequences of out-of-control global finances, irresponsible bankers and spiralling unprotected credit can be seen in families, innocent of any involvement but now dealing with the consequences in your road or just around the corner.

Poverty takes no prisoners, it respects no boundaries, class or age. Poverty takes hold and saps daily confidence, esteem, belief and aspiration. Families see no way out and the grip continues to tighten.

At Christmas, the grip is tightest. Shops may be full of gifts, supermarkets full of seasonal food and toy shops with this year’s top ten toys. But each of those families knows that Christmas Day for them will be the same as any other day

The Links/Recorder Appeal can change this. Your gifts will make the difference, making sure that Christmas Day is special.

Every year, the Newham community, including schools, churches, businesses, clubs, organisations and individual residents, rise to the challenge and ensure that Christmas Day is special for every disadvantaged child referred to the appeal.

I ask you in this, the most difficult of years to again meet the challenge and ensure that Christmas Day remains special for every child in Newhamar.

I thank you for making that difference. – Kevin Jenkins, Co-Founder / Senior Advisor Community Links


THERE is a room we need to fill with toys to help ensure no child is left out this Christmas.

Community Links’ Toy Appeal Co-ordinator Paula Blake and Links’ worker Sharon Gayle are pictured with some of our junior task force who help bring joy to those less fortunate.

They are in the bare room at Links’ base in Barking Road, Canning Town, that we hope will soon be full of toys.

Please do all you can to help our campaign.


Can you beat the Recorder brainboxes? That question and many more will be answered on December 2 at the quiz event of the year.

The competition is a chance to raise money for the Community Links and Recorder’s 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 provide tension, drama and above all else, fun. The Recorder’s own teams will be there.

One of our teams, the Recorder Rejects, will aiming to regain the trophy they last won in 2007

Tables of eight cost just �75, which will enable a 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.

Previous quizzes at the public hall have been oversubscribed, and with interest already running high, early booking is recommended.

If you want to enter a team, contact Kevin Jenkins, Paula Blake or one of the Toy Appeal team at Community Links on (020) 7473 2270.

Each table taken up equates to another family of children having a Christmas to remember this year.

There will be prizes for the winners and lemons for the losers! The night is always popular so early booking is recommended. You are welcome to bring your own drinks and nibbles.


OUR junior task force of helpers and animals at Newham City Farm took the starring role as we launched our Christmas Toy Appeal this week.

The youngsters are members of an after-school club run by our appeal partners, campaigning care group Community Links. The children represent the ethos of the campaign – helping youngsters less fortunate than themselves,

As a treat, the junior task force got to meet the animals at the farm, which is now run by Links. Jan O’Brien, of Links, the farm’s Grace Carney and the task force unveiled the campaign with the help of Romulus the donkey and Jessie the pony. Details of how you can help are on these pages.


?Community Links are hosting a Christmas lunch to raise funds for the appeal. A meal of soup, turkey and ham and trimmings, and a glass of wine, costs �8. Veggie options are available. The meal, places for which must be booked, is being held at Community Links from noon to 1.30pm and 1.30pm to 3pm on December 16. To stage an event to raise money, or collect toys for the appeal, calls Links on (020) 7473 2270. If you want to stage a sponsored swim, forms are available from the Recorder or Links. To find out more about the appeal, call Paula Blake on (020) 7473 2270.


?You can stage a sponsored event to raise cash for the Christmas Toy Appeal. Recorder Editor Colin Grainger will take his annual dip for charity, as he has done for 30 years.

He plans to swim 50 lengths of Dagenham swimming pool to raise money for the campaign. The sum will be doubled by the Recorder’s parent company Archant, through their Archant Gold scheme. To sponsor Colin, please make any cheques payable to Community Links and send them to: Colin Grainger, Editor, Newham Recorder, Media House, 539, High Road, Ilford, Essex, IG11UD.


THERE is a network of drop-off points all over Newham where you can leave toys. These are at:

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.

NATIONWIDE BUILDING SOCIETY (KEEN AND BASSETT) : 355, Barking Road, East Ham, during 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, 9am to 10pm any day.

ST BARTHOLOMEW’S CHURCH AND CENTRE: Barking Road, East Ham, 9am to 5pm any day.

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 LOCAL SERVICE CENTRE: Kingsford Way, during opening hours Monday to Saturday.

CANNING TOWN LOCAL SERVICE CENTRE: Beckton Road, during opening hours.

GREEN STREET LOCAL SERVICE CENTRE: Green Street, Upton Park, during opening hours.

STRATFORD LOCAL SERVICE CENTRE: The Grove, Stratford, during opening hours.

EAST HAM LOCAL SERVICE CENTRE: Barking Road, East Ham, during opening hours.

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

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

BARCHESTER, WESTGATE HOUSE NURSING 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 Pat Coughtrey, Kay Atwal, Eleanore Robinson, Lee Peart, Linda Warner, John Finn or Colin Grainger on the Recorder’s Toy Appeal Desk on (020) 8478 4444. You can also make a cash donation.

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.