In loving memory of Louise Purton
The launch of the 2022 West Berkshire Toy Appeal, which is held in loving memory of Louise Purton, took place at The Newbury Community Resource Centre on 14th November 2022. The event was well attended and The Toy Appeal is off to a great start.
It was fantastic to see the local community gather to give their support. Kelvin Hughes, CEO of The Newbury Community Resource Centre and Adrian Smith, CEO of Swift, were joined by Cllr Nigel Foot, Deputy Mayor of Newbury; Cllr Jeff Brooks, Mayor of Thatcham; Sarah Slack, Deputy Leader of Newbury Town Council; Jaz Ghalley from Greenham Trust; Jane Bosher and Mollie Maclean from The Newbury Building Society; Sheyni Hodges, Co-op Member Pioneer for Thatcham; and Sarah Bosley and Phil Cannings from Newbury Weekly News.
The Appeal is all about the children of West Berkshire, so Catherine Bull, Headteacher at Parsons Down Partnership of Schools, brought children who are part of Parsons Down Junior School Council to meet Father Christmas himself! It was also great to have Jake Huntley and Lesley Purton representing the family of Louise Purton, a former director at Swift and partner of our late founder, Steve Huntley, who was a major driving force behind the Toy Appeal before she passed away in 2019.
As those of you who have generously supported us for so long will know, The Toy Appeal distributes hundreds of new, unwrapped toys to underprivileged children and young people up to the age of 19. Swift, The Newbury Community Resource Centre and the team behind the appeal work closely with social workers, who distribute vouchers that the children and young people they look after can exchange for gifts. Please visit www.toyappeal.co.uk for information on how you can support us.
The launch event began with opening remarks from Kelvin Hughes, CEO of The Newbury Community Resource Centre. Kelvin spoke movingly about the importance of The West Berkshire Toy Appeal and how its need was made all the greater by the cost-of-living crisis:
'The Newbury Community Resource Centre has supported people this year who wouldn't have beaten a path to our door previously. That's why the Toy Appeal team are expecting a higher demand for help than ever. We also know that fewer people will be in a position to donate. However, we continue to be amazed by the generosity of our community.'
This year, we're making it easier than ever for local businesses to support us. We're suggesting that local companies replace 'Secret Santa' with donations to our Amazon Wish List. We have designed a poster that we hope people will display in their offices, and a dedicated QR code (which you can download here). As Kelvin said:
'Rather than buying a novelty toy that's destined for your desk drawer, you can give a gift to a child who will really appreciate it. If local businesses support us in this way, we hope that, as in previous years, we'll be able to provide a Christmas gift to all the young people who qualify for a voucher.'
Swift and the whole Toy Appeal team are massively grateful for generous support we get from local residents and all the businesses who help get donations into the hands of children who really deserve them. Please donate if you can.
Little gestures make a big difference.