Colin Grainger

An appeal at the very heart of the community in East London

An appeal that has part of local life for 42 years has just been launched. It’s a campaign that is right at the heart of life in East London.

It was all those years ago that I first helped launch the Newham Recorder and Community Links Christmas Toy Appeal, with the organisation’s co-founder and now life president Kevin Jenkins.

The Newham Christmas Toy Appeal has helped thousands of children over those years at this special time of year and is still as relevant today as it was back then.

Over the coming weeks, the Recorder, Links, and charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve are combining again for the campaign to reach out to thousands of vulnerable children, families and adults.

  • Two of the donations made last year

Christmas can be a time of stress and isolation as many of our children are still living in poverty. But this appeal looks to strengthen communities and raise aspirations at this time, making Christmas special and futures brighter.

I am proud to be a patron of the Newham Christmas Toy Appeal campaign, having been part of the appeal for the Recorder as reporter, news editor, sub-editor, assistant editor, deputy editor, associate editor and then as Editor for my last 15 years at the Recorder.

Next month will also be the 42nd time I have dived in to swim 50  lengths breast stroke to help raise money for the appeal.  The Recorder, Links and AAA, who are facilitating the massive effort to bring joy will be publishing a list of drop off points all over Newham where you can donate new toys and gifts. We need to collect 18,000 new toys – a huge challenge.

  • Your author – diving in soon to raise funds


Charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve, which Kevin founded three years ago and of which I am a trustee, will also be organising parties for children and theatre trips as part of the appeal.

All the money will be spent on new toys for the appeal, which the entire community in Newham supports.

  • A fundraising swim event from the 1980s

If you would like to give to my effort or the wider appeal that would be great. Thank you. Details on how you can support the campaign in general will be in the Recorder every week from tomorrow and on their website from and also on my website

  • Where you can leave your gifts of love

My sponsored swim page can be found on:

Thanks again for your support.

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