Colin Grainger

Launch of a special appeal at the heart of our community

Today sees the launch of a special community appeal that has been part of  life in Newham for the last 40 years.

I was proud to be part of the first Community Links and Newham Recorder Christmas Toy Appeal back in 1977. It shows how despite everything we face in our daily lives, the ability to look after those less fortunate than ourselves is alive and well in East London.

I hope you can help support the special appeal that has helped change the lives of young people who are at risk through no fault of their own in its 40th year.

I first helped launch the campaign as a reporter on the paper and did so throughout all my roles there, especially in the last 15 as Editor. But the special pull of the campaign means it never leaves your heart, even if you leave the workplace you spent most of your life at. I am still honoured to be a part of it.

And you can be too. It’s like giving blood or helping other people through their daily struggle. It makes you feel good too. Give it a try.

We have helped thousands of children over those years and the appeal is just as relevant today. The need has grown with the campaign and we need to collect the equivalent of 18,000 toys.

The appeal launches in the paper today with help from some special people. Over the coming weeks, the Recorder and Links are combining again for the campaign to reach out to thousands of vulnerable children, families and adults.

Christmas can be a time of stress and isolation. But this appeal helps strengthen communities and raise aspirations, making Christmas special and futures brighter.

So I ask that you to include some very special people in your Christmas shopping budget and fiind 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 others – for a child in Newham. If you give a special person some money for their own gift, or perhaps you could put aside some money for a needy child. All toys need to be new and unwrapped and can be for any age upto 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 or other charities in and around Newham. It is a philosophy that has stood the test of time: helping and enabling people to help themselves.

I started training for my usual 50 lengths sponsored swim a few weeks ago – it’s getting harder every year – if you want to sponsor me please feel free to do so. I am trying to raise £500. Some special people have already donated to the cause. You can add to the total by going to my Just Giving page here:


swim 3

  • Swimming for the appeal last year


Details are on also my Facebook and Twitter pages. You can message me for my postal address if you want to donate that way.

You can also give direct to the appeal by dropping off new toys or cash. Details will be on the Recorder’s website from Wednesday at or in paper. There are a network of drop off points all over the borough where you can leave toys.

You can also contribute to any of the events Links and the Recorder will be mentioning.  We are holding a quiz night on December 6 , which is usually a fun night and a great fundraiser. Contact Links life president Kevin Jenkins on 07860 487727 to book a table. It starts earlier this year promptly at 7pm.

Kevin said: “Together we can make a difference, we can give children a Christmas stocking and toys and the knowledge that the local community cares.”

Each year the pressure mounts to reach the target, but we have always made it. Hundreds of celebrities and people in the public eye, including the Royal household, have helped us. Businesses do their bit. Newham Council are always there to help us. It is an appeal that involves people from all walks of life. From the elderly citizen donating his or her pension to the paper boy giving up some of his hard-earned cash, it is so great to be part of such a special campaign.

Please to give a  toy or toys because together we can ensure that Christmas Day is a special this year for every child in Newham.



  • Featured image. Kind-hearted bikers donate toys to the appeal in their charity bike run last year

Pictures: Colin Grainger

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This article was written on 08 Nov 2017, and is filed under Canning Town, Christmas Toy Appeal, Community Links, Newham Council, Newham Recorder, sponsored swim.

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