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‘Be Kind to a Kid’ appeal sees nearly 2,500 toys donated to local families

Suffolk Libraries and BBC Radio Suffolk would like to say a massive thank you to the people of Suffolk after their festive toy appeal was hailed as a big success.

2,472 new toys were donated via the county’s 45 libraries between Monday 13 November and Friday 8 December.

Suffolk Libraries has this week been working to get these toys out to several local charities and Suffolk County Council’s family hubs so they can pass them on to families they work with in time for Christmas. The aim of the appeal has been to bring a little bit of festive joy to families who might be struggling this Christmas.

Everyone at Suffolk Libraries and BBC Radio Suffolk would like to thank everyone who has donated toys and all the organisations and people who have supported the campaign too. This is a long list but includes:

  • Advantage Angels – for their generous gift of £5,000 of toys.
  • Suffolk County Council who supported with storage and delivery of toys to Suffolk’s Family Hubs and children in need
  • Realise Futures – who kindly wrapped several hundred toys
  • Volunteers who helped to sort toys and Heart of Suffolk Distillery who helped to get toys to Ipswich to sort
  • Many other organisations and charities have also taken toys to pass on to the families they work with.

Bruce Leeke, Suffolk Libraries Chief Executive, said:

“We’ve been overwhelmed with the success of this campaign and the number of toys which have been donated to our libraries. It really is heartwarming that despite the tough times which are affecting us all, people can still be so generous and give a little something which can make a big difference to local children. So many people and organisations have got behind this appeal and we’re so grateful to them and of course our library staff who’ve made it happen.

"Thousands of families in Suffolk will have something a little extra this year and it’s also been a great way of highlighting our Warm Welcome appeal and the many other ways our charity can help if you’re affected by the cost of living.”

Wayne Bavin, BBC Radio Suffolk Breakfast Show Presenter, said:

“From an idea discussed between me and the team at BBC Radio Suffolk, where together, we wanted to do something to help families in Suffolk who were a bit cash strapped, to what became an amazing campaign that will bring colour and joy to many families and children this Christmas in Suffolk – it’s been a wonderful end to the year. From the outset I knew Suffolk libraries were the perfect partner for this appeal, due to their amazing work in our community over the years.

"Thank you to everyone who donated not just toys, but also giving their time to help spread the magic of Christmas.”

Taking a delivery of toys from Advantage Angels: (L-R): Bruce Leeke, CEO Suffolk Libraries; Mekala Hodgson, Managing Director of Advantage Angels; Father Christmas; Wayne Bavin, BBC Radio Suffolk Breakfast Presenter.
Volunteers from local charity Realise Futures kindly offered to help us wrap hundreds of gifts to help spread some festive joy to families.
Wayne Bavin, presenter at BBC Radio Suffolk, with the mountain of toys donated by Advantage Angels, ready to be given out to families this Christmas.

Cllr Bobby Bennett, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Equality and Communities, said:

“A big thank you to everybody who generously donated to the appeal – you really have made a big difference to children and families this Christmas. Suffolk County Council has been delighted to help to deliver more than 1,000 of the toys donated to children in need across Suffolk.”

Angela Dennis, Business Manager for Families Together Suffolk who are one of the organisations who helped to distribute toys, said:

“Families Together Suffolk are so grateful for the gifts that we’ve received from everyone across Suffolk. Because of this campaign and everyone’s generosity we’ve been able to support parents even more at a really difficult time of year. These individual acts of kindness will help to give the families and children a Christmas to remember. At Families Together Suffolk we’re bringing parenting back to the heart of community and your generous gift donations have helped us to do this at Christmas.”

Thought the appeal has now closed, Suffolk Libraries will continue to run its Warm Welcome campaign throughout the winter. All libraries are warm spaces open to anyone who just wants to relax and keep warm with no expectation to spend money or join in with activities if they don’t want to.

All libraries offer free Wi-Fi and computer access, with many offering free hot drinks, kindness racks offering donated clothing and free period products. Almost everything available in libraries is free and staff are on hand to provide advice or signpost to other organisations who can help. Suffolk Libraries also has a dedicated health and wellbeing service.

You can support the Warm Welcome campaign and the work of Suffolk Libraries by making an online donation to help us continue to run our vital services which help communities across the county.