Colin Grainger

Christmas Toy Appeal – facing our toughest ever challenge to bring joy to those who need it most

FOR thousands of families in Newham it has again been a very difficult year. And it is getting harder by the week. The cost of living crisis is biting hard.

As a result, the Kevin Jenkins OBE Newham Christmas Toy Appeal, a massive big part of local life for 45 consecutive years, is needed more than ever before.

Last year, charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve (AAA) helped almost 3,000 children and their families, an incredible achievement. And the charity knows from referrals already made before we have launched the campaign that the demand this year will be exceeded.

Two  stars of West Ham United Women kicked off the appeal for children this week.

Viviane Asseyi and Grace Fisk met youngsters at AAA’s Terence Brown Arc In the Park in Canning Town to launch it.

The stars of the FA Women’s Super League met AAA staff and the children who are part of AAA’s group of Santa’s helpers for the appeal.

  • The stars at the launch

Said Grace: “We are very proud to be able to help launch this year’s Kevin Jenkins OBE Newham Christmas Toy Appeal. This is my local community and so to be able to come along here to show my support for such a worthwhile cause is something really important to me.”

Viviane said: “I am really happy to meet with some of the children that Ambition Aspire Achieve support and to help launch the Christmas Toy Appeal. The last few years has been tough for everyone but every child deserves a new toy at Christmas and I hope us being here today can encourage the local community to donate what they can.”

Grace and Viviane helped launch the appeal as part of West Ham United’s Players’ Project, an initiative where Men’s, Women’s and Academy players regularly show their support to causes across the local community .

The campaign helps to provide local children and families with items on Christmas Day who would otherwise likely go without – a cause which has been supported annually by West Ham and its Foundation. Ambition Aspire Achieve is one of their selected charity partners.

  • The stars meet our young helpers

The appeal is run in conjunction with the Newham Recorder and the community in the borough.

Grace, 24, a defender the Hammers, has represented  the England National steam at youth level. She captained the England squad that won a bronze medal at the 2018 Undr 20 World Cup in France.

Irons striker Viviane, 28, is also a star for the French National Team and has 57 caps, scoring 13 goals.

AAA’s founder and the appeal’s founded Kevin Jenkins passed away last year and the appeal was renamed in his memory. It is a campaign that is right at the heart of local life and it really needs help from the community.


AAA Chief Executive Jonny Boux said: “We are proud to launch the Kevin Jenkins OBE Newham Christmas Toy Appeal, honouring the legacy and tremendous contribution made by the appeal’s founder It is our 45th  year and will be a major challenge. The continuing affects of the pandemic and fallout creating even greater hardship for many. We are now in the middle of a cost of living crisis.

“But it is the children and families most in need that have been particularly affected, pushed deeper into poverty through no fault of their own.

“Sadly, the lead up to Christmas 2022 and beyond are expected to be very difficult for families struggling to make ends meet. For many it’s a choice between eat or heat, and Christmas gets pushed out. Kevin’s vision and spirit of determination, both in founding and delivering the appeal, are as important now as they have ever been.

“Every year we reach out to partners, both in the corporate world and wider community to ask for support. We encourage all to be involved and no level of support is too small. It is only with the help of others that we can ensure no child referred to the appeal this year wakes up to an empty stocking on this special day for all children.”

  • Kevin


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

Paula Blake, Toy Appeal co-ordinator, said: “Christmas can be a time of stress and isolation as many of our children are still living in poverty. But the appeal looks to strengthen communities and raise aspirations, making Christmas special and futures brighter.”

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

“It will be a difficult choice for people trying to find ways of coping with the cost of living crisis. But hope those who have supported us for so many years can come up trumps again and to support us.

“There are children out there already helping us and all donations small and big will make a difference in helping is 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 gift, to open on Christmas Day.”

The challenges faced by those we help remain the same. Poor or temporary accommodation, food hunger, poor wellbeing, emotional needs, disability and additional needs, and victims of personal abuse or violence.

If you can help us ensure 2022 spreads some joy , it would be just fantastic if we can meet our target yet again.

  • A film crew from BBC London interview appeal organiser Paula Blake in last year’s appeal




For people wishing to choose a gift or gifts, to purchase online for a young person this Christmas, an Amazon Wish List has been set up.

This feature has a selection of items ranging from toys, hats, CDs and books to headphones, watches, teddies and much more that the appeal organisers know would be suitable for those receiving presents, and provide an easy way to buy and donate directly.

To view the Wish List, visit Amazon at:

Donations can be made in person at the Terence Brown Arc In The Park, in Bethell Avenue, Canning Town, from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and from 10am to 1pm on Saturdays.

An online Just Giving fundraising page has also been set up, and all money donated will be spent on buying presents for Newham’s most underprivileged children in advance of Christmas Day.

To donate, visit:

Details on how you can support the campaign in general will be in the Recorder every week and on their website

And AAA will feature the campaign on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

AAA’s Community Christmas Trees campaign  has also launched.  And we are offering  beautiful real trees again for 2022.

The entire trading surplus is given to the Toy Appeal run by AAA and to the charity’s work throughout the year.

All Christmas trees purchased are sourced from sustainable plantations, fully approved by the British Christmas Tree Growers Association. They are also freshly cut a few days before delivery, ensuring they hold their beauty and needles throughout the festive season.

They are competitively priced and delivered to your door on an arranged date.

AAA delivers across East London and will try to accommodate any requests outside this area.

To ensure the best quality tree, please make your order by November 22 . If you have any questions or would like any further details, please email AAA at to request an order form or call Jonny Boux on 07957 460620.

Find out more and place your order at  AAA’s own special shop at

More on our appeal soon. Please help if you can.

If you can help us ensure 2022 spreads some joy , it would be just fantastic if we can meet our target yet again.


Pictures: AAA/Colin Grainger


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