In loving memory of Louise Purton
The 16th Annual West Berkshire Toy Appeal, which is in loving memory of our friend Louise Purton, is more important than ever. While this wonderful area is widely regarded as affluent, such perceptions only make the shadow darker for the 10% of West Berkshire residents who now live in abject poverty.
Swift set up The Toy Appeal to support the growing number of families who are forced each year to make the choice between buying Christmas presents and paying their bills.
Annually we drive this appeal for donations of new, unwrapped, gifts for boys and girls up to the age of 19. We then coordinate the distribution of vouchers with social support workers, family support workers, school liaison officers, NHS practitioners and GPs or surgeries. All of these professionals can help and ensure vouchers are issued to families to exchange for the donated gifts. Each and every year since 2006, the generosity of this community has produced hundreds of gifts that make a real difference to the lives of underprivileged children and young people; we literally Deliver Christmas to Hundreds of Local Children.
None of us needs reminding that 2022 has been a very difficult year. The depressing statistics speak for themselves:
More locally, The Newbury Community Furniture Project, whose support is essential to The Toy Appeal’s success, have seen a 50% rise in demand for their Essential Household Goods Scheme, while donations have stayed at a similar level.
In other words, there are more people in need of help than ever before, and fewer people in a position to provide it. This is deeply concerning to everyone involved in the Appeal. Historically, we have relied on the generosity of local residents, yet we must be prepared for the fact that no matter how desperate the need…many people will not be in a position to donate this year.
Rising costs, falling donations and increased demand combine to mean that we need to broaden the scope of our appeal. That’s why this year we are appealing to local businesses to support The Toy Appeal. We are asking local companies to replace 'Secret Santa' with donations to The West Berkshire Toy Appeal.
At Swift, as well as many of our clients and associates, we will be having fun selecting not only the "recipient" but also a gender and age group. The event will happen as traditionally intended – and I, no doubt, will be receiving a humorously selected "gift" – wholly inappropriate for a 50-something grumpy old man – but, once re-donated to the appeal… perfect for bringing a very real smile to a West Berkshire Child this Christmas.
As a wise man once said, "The joy of Christmas is giving." We've just found a way of giving twice.
The West Berkshire Toy Appeal helps children and young people enjoy their Christmas. Please support it.
Little gestures make a big difference.