This Couple Is Making Sure 5,000 Of The Poorest London Kids Get A Christmas Present

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 12 months ago
This Couple Is Making Sure 5,000 Of The Poorest London Kids Get A Christmas Present
Launching this year's Winter Toy Appeal, pictured left to right: Alice Bruggen and Beautine Wester of Hackney Children & Baby Bank, Jenna Fansa of the Local Buyers Club and Vicky Bibiris of Location Location.

Though a magical time for many kids, Christmas is not so wonderful for those living in poverty.

Since 2013, couple Jenna and Basil Fansa, from the Local Buyers Club, have run the annual Winter Toy Appeal from their home in Stoke Newington. It ensures that around 5,000 of the poorest children in north and east London have a new toy to open on Christmas Day.

In fact, it's a real joint effort, with local councils, refuges, food banks, children's centres, migrant centres and schools handing out the donated gifts to some extremely grateful children in Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Tower Hamlets.

Two people on bikes piled high with boxes of toys
Pedal Me collecting some toys on behalf of Tower Hamlets Council

It already feels like a journalistic trope to say 2022 is a particularly tough year, due to the shortcomings of the British government, and various problems on a wider, global scale — but that's the truth of it.

Says Jenna Fansa: "Thousands of families face such extreme poverty that there's nothing spare for treats. Many families can't afford to heat their food, let alone keep their homes warm and the situation is getting worse. We are expecting more referrals than ever this year.

"We know, from the agencies we work with, that things are tougher than ever — with so many families experiencing hardship, we're expecting this to be the toughest toy appeal yet."

Jenna and Basil in a previous year with some of the toys collected

Want to make a child's Christmas? You can buy a gift online via an independent toy shop or via Amazon and they'll be passed on to agencies to distribute. If you prefer to play Santa personally, you can drop a new toy (or send it) to Location Location, 18 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0LU.

There's also a Just Giving page for the Hackney Children & Baby Bank to buy new toys for children in need.

However you decide to help out, your generosity will be passed on in toy form, putting a smile on the face of a child this Christmas.

Find out more on the Winter Toy Appeal website.

Last Updated 14 November 2022

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