Colin Grainger

Our toughest ever challenge – launch of the vital annual appeal to save Christmas for local young people

It’s going to be a tough ask in these unprecedented times. Never before have we kicked off the vital appeal that has been a bit part of local life for 43 years in the middle of a pandemic.

But we are praying that the campaign that is right at the heart of life in East London gets your support in the hardest of years.

This year the whole nation has been getting creative to try to make life as normal as possible. And we have got to do that to ensure that no child is left out this Christmas.

The Newham Christmas Toy Appeal has helped tens of 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, starting tomorrow, Wednesday November 18, the Newham Recorder and charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve and Community Links are combining again for the campaign to reach out to thousands of vulnerable children, families and adults in our borough.

This year, we not only have to collect over 15,000 new toys, but we have to sanitise every one of them.  Every bag they are delivered in has to be sealed and sprayed. Our Christmas Quiz is for the first time – an online event. Firms who normally buy the Christmas trees we sell for their offices are being asked to buy them for local families.

  • Our toy warehouse 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.

We are already getting more requests for help than in any other time in our history. Each family we help does not receive any extra money to help them through the Christmas season. So many of us take this for granted so once again we are asking for your help.

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 43rd  time I have dived in to swim 50  lengths breast stroke to help raise money for the appeal.  The Recorder and  AAA,  will be publishing publishing updates as often as possible.

There’s another challenge, because of COVID. We normally have drop off points all over the borough where you can leave toys. But it is just not possible. Instead there is one safe place. AAA’s main base at the Terence Brown Arc In The Park.

  • Your author – diving in soon to raise funds


Charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve, which Kevin founded four years ago and of which I am a trustee, have set up an online fund to allow people to contribute that way.

Newham Christmas Toy Appeal Gift List is at:

Here you can buy gifts and they will be delivered to the Arc.

The Newham Christmas Toy Appeal Giving site is on:

All the money will be spent on new toys for the appeal, which the entire community in Newham supports. Every toy will be sanitised – another massive task.

And we are running an online quiz to raise funds to be turned into toys. Teams have already signed up for the online quiz. But we need more to take part.

It will take place on Thursday December 10 from 7pm.
Toy Appeal co-ordinator Kevin Jenkins said: “The hardship caused to so many by the pandemic, has not only dented goodwill towards the appeal, but has sadly reduced the number of individuals and businesses who are able to support us in this most difficult of years.”
If you can, please join us for a little break from things on December 10 for an enjoyable night and help fill the Christmas stockings for our most disadvantaged children this year. Our first ever online quiz gives two quizzes in one.
Quiz 1 is ten online rounds of multiple questions on subjects to be revealed on the night. They will be of interest to all the family – young, not so old, and old!
Quiz 2 is the traditional Christmas quiz mini marathon. 40 posers emailed to you at 6.30pm for you to answer before and in between rounds, emailing your answers back by 8.30pm.
A case of Christmas cheer will be delivered to the winners of each quiz. And it’s just £10 per family to take part. Our famous Christmas quiz is back – albeit virtually. Hopefully next year we will be back live.
To join the quiz simply email Kevin at: and you will be sent a unique link to join and details of where to pay the entry fee.
If you need more information about the quiz or the appeal in general please email kevin or call him on 07860 487727.

Bikers who have supported the appeal for many years will this year be using their cars to collect toys. They have their own Facebook Page.



 * Details of their event above 

It’s not a normal year but we will never forget what you have done in the past.

If you can help us ensure 2020 finally spreads some joy , it would be just fantastic.

  • A fundraising event from the a couple of years ago by Deborah Day and her team

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

Individuals can leave items at the Terence Brown Arc in the Park, Canning Town, from Wednesday November 18. The Arc will be staffed to allow new toys to be dropped off from 9am to 1pm.

My sponsored swim page can be found on this link, should you wish to give this way :

Thanks again for your support.

Together we can do this – yet again.


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This article was written on 17 Nov 2020, and is filed under AAA, Ambition Aspire Achieve, Christmas Toy Appeal, Newham Recorder.

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