Colin Grainger

Simply Amazing! Kevin Jenkins OBE Newham Christmas Toy Appeal 2022 reaches target

WE’VE done it! Thanks to the kindness of everyone in our community and beyond, the 45th annual appeal to brighten the lives of children who need it most in Newham reached its target this morning.

Now charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve (AAA) and the volunteers for the Kevin Jenkins OBE Newham Christmas Toy Appeal 2022, have just a few days to distribute the gifts to more than 3,000 families whose young ones will wake up with gifts in their stockings on Christmas Day.

Operations Manager for AAA and Appeal co-ordinator Paula Blake said the campaign, run in conjunction with the Newham Recorder had been “a massive challenge this year and one of the toughest ever.”

“We want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved and thank them for helping us achieve our charity’s core aims – which are making a difference and changing lives. It’s what we exist to do.”

The staff and volunteers of the charity have surpassed themselves this year – and so has everyone involved.

AAA’s Chief Executive Jonny Boux said: “A huge thank you to all who have given so generously to the appeal so far. The requests for help this year have been higher than ever and the kindness of all the individuals, businesses, schools and community groups has been tremendous. ”

West Ham United star Kurt Zouma and two Academy players Remi Coddington and Will Greenidge, visited the appeal’s toy warehouse to get a taste of action on the frontline and boost the volunteers.

They delivered gifts and volunteered helping with packing and sorting to support the appeal. Kurt said: “It was our pleasure.”

  • Kurt Zouma and two Academy players Remi Coddington and Will Greenidge

AAA is an official charity partner of the Hammers.

Kurt was only too happy to provide his support for such a worthy cause, both by helping the volunteers on site and delivering a donation of toys, scarves and Hammers goodies from the Club.

“We have been preparing some gifts for some kids who unfortunately wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to have them,” he explained. “This is a beautiful idea to help these young people have the chance like the others. I have young kids myself, aged four, seven and eight, so I know how it feels for them. They want Santa to come and give them some presents, so it means a lot to me to be able to help other kids out. Kids give you joy, they give you everything you need, so you just want to make them happy and see them smile – that’s your gift.“This is a family Club and we are trying to make gifts for other people as well, which is important.”

Coddington, 18, was humbled by the opportunity to make a difference for local children, as part of the Club’s Players’ Project.

He added: “We’ve learned about this great charity, giving these gifts to young children in the local area. We’ve been picking out some presents for the kids who don’t have ways to get presents otherwise, so it’s been great being able to help. It makes you think about how we might take stuff for granted. Me being a young kid, I’ve been brought up having Christmas presents all the time, so being here and seeing all these presents for the less fortunate makes you feel honoured to be a part of it.”

In the build up to the final few days of the appeal AAA run in conjunction with the Newham Recorder, the donations and deliveries were coming thick and fast.

Newham Chamber of Commerce (pictured below) presented their gifts at a special breakfast meeting at the Holiday Inn Express at ExCeL to Paula Blake. The members have supported the appeal for many years.

On Sunday, the Deborah Day Theatre School Trust, staged their annual Christmas Show for the appeal, and raised an incredible £1,500 for the campaign. Deborah and her talented youngsters have supported the appeal for many years.

The show took place at Stratford Academy School in Forest Gate, and simply superb.


  • Young People from the Deborah Day Theatre School Trust on Sunday


A team from Zurich Insurance UK visited AAA’s Arc In The Park base to present 50 gifts chosen by their employees as part of their support this year. A further 25 gifts were also received from their Croydon office the next day.

  • The Zurich team and some of their gifts

East Ham MP Sir Stephen Timms, pictured with Paula below, made his traditional donation of £100 for the appeal.

Former Newham Recorder Editor and AAA trustee Colin Grainger, seen at the end of his effort below, received some more donations for his annual sponsored swim for the appeal this week and amassed a total of £1,830 for the campaign – the most he’s ever raised.

The Theatre Royal, Stratford East, acted as a drop off point for the campaign, and delivered the gifts to the warehouse on Friday.

  • The Theatre Royal kindhearts


John Ratomski and volunteers from Irons Supporting Foodbanks, seen below, handed over gifts to the appeal.

Cornelius Henry and Noel Morris from St Saviours Church, Forest Gate, below, dropped off presents for young ones.



Danielle, below, dropped off some toy donations from Morgan Sindell and there were many anonymous gifts.

We received toy collections and drops – latest partners this week have included CVC Advisers Ltd,  Smyths Toys, Gallions Reach, L&Q, St Nicholas Church (Kelvedon Hatch), All Saints Church (Writtle) and many more.


Further kind cash donations were also made this week to support the appeal. The many donations this week include Axis Foundation, Lister School, LinkCity, Morgan Sindell, Pilgrims Way Church, and Bryan Cave, Leighton Paisner LLP.

Foot Asylum kindly donated vouchers worth £500 to the cause.

A team from Burberry, below, turned up to drop off gifts at our warehouse which were immediately sorted to be ready for delivery.

Food hampers, below, arrived from the Community Food Enterprises, in Silvertown, to swell our coffers.

The Co-op at Cambridge Road, Bow, gave a donation, pictured below, of food for the
Our Minds And Us Christmas party at AAA’s Glyn Hopkin Abbey Hub in Stratford .

There were fantastic efforts from volunteers at LEGO over two days at our warehouse and two teams from MACE, who have supported our appeal for years, also weighed in with special shifts on two different days there. Investment firm BAIN Capital had 20 volunteers at the warehouse as part of their Europe Charity Day celebrations.

  • MACE teams


  • LEGO teams

There was more vital help from a team of volunteers from asset management company Janus Henderson, seen below, at the toy warehouse, given by Quattro Plant Hire. They were busy unwrapping, sorting and packing gifts for distribution. And also made a toys donation.

And a big thank you also for teams from Barclays UK, below, who visited the toy appeal warehouse. They helped with unpacking of boxes of toys donated or ordered online and sorted, wrapped and distributed the gifts.

Phew! Some gifts may well come in after this page appeared today. Watch out for a  Roll of Honour to thank those who made a difference shortly.

Thank you and God bless.



Pictures: Lucy Jenkins/ Ambition Aspire Achieve and Colin Grainger





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