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Locals bring Christmas to children in poverty

Thousands of children experiencing poverty in North London will have a special gift to open this winter after an overwhelming response to the Local Buyers Club's annual toy appeal.

Around 5,000 gifts were donated to the Winter Toy and Food Appeal, which is run by the Local Buyers Club with support from Location Location estate agency.

It took a team of volunteers four days to sort through the donations and distribute them to around 4,000 children in most need. Smaller gifts went as stocking fillers.

Basil Fansa of the Local Buyers Club, who launched the appeal with his wife Jenna five years ago said: “Taking the toys to social workers, children’s centres, schools, food banks and those running women’s refuges has been one of the most moving experiences of our lives. We’ve seen social workers reduced to tears this week and we’ve seen some incredible smiles!"

Basil added: “The quality of gifts this year was wonderful and our thanks go to everyone who donated, to the Ivy Street Family Centre who distribute most of the toys and to the army of volunteers who helped us."

Hackney, Haringey and Islington Food Banks all received toys through the appeal, children housed in temporary or hostel accommodation and those fleeing domestic violence and living in refuges received a gift alongside children attending dozens of other agencies.

Claire Reay, Manager of the Ivy Street Family Centre said: “For lots of the children this is the difference between Christmas and not-Christmas. We know that for a number of children the only gift they receive will be through this appeal.”

The appeal also collected the equivalent to more than 800 meals for local food banks.

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