A superb team effort for the Rochdale Giving Back Christmas Toy Appeal meant that over 1,500 less fortunate local children had gifts to open on the big day. Residents and businesses stepped up to help, donating more than 4,500 toys and gifts which were sorted and delivered to homes across the borough.
Rochdale Borough Council policy advisor Helen Walton, from the Giving Back charity behind the appeal said it was a fabulous team effort: "Once again the borough has done itself proud to help families experiencing hardship. My very heartfelt thanks go to everyone who donated – thanks to them, lots of children who would otherwise have gone without, had gifts to open on Christmas morning."
"As well as all the individual donations we also saw many wonderful businesses coming forward donating toys, money and time which gave the appeal a boost. I also want to thank all our volunteers, around 30 absolute stars who gave up their Saturdays or holiday to come in and sort all the gifts. Thanks to everyone we have been able to help children from families who cannot afford the basics and in many cases are enduring a tough time. When children talk in the playground about their presents, I think it's so hard for those who didn't get anything, so beyond the initial joy, your donations have a lasting impact. The appeal will also have boosted trade as we know many of the gifts were purchased locally including thousands of pounds of gifts that we purchased with cash donations received."
12 year old Oliver Stuckey was singled out for praise after he collected and donated over 80 toys to the appeal. The Cardinal Langley RC High School pupil from Middleton used his spare time to make his own posters and got locals to drop off presents at Sharper Hair Design in Alkrington where his mum works.
Councillor Rachel Massey, cabinet member for children's services and education at Rochdale Borough Council added: "The many donations we received generated so many smiles on Christmas Day, thank you so much. To see the huge piles of gifts collected during the final week was very moving and I am grateful that so many people took the time to help."
Since 2014 the appeal has provided much needed festive cheer for thousands of children and teenagers. It is organised by the council's 'Giving Back' charity in partnership with Action Together, Rochdale Football Club, Rochdale Riverside, Your Trust, Petrus and Rochdale Town Centre Management.
Businesses and other organisations that helped the appeal in 2021 included Signals IT Ltd, Amazon Logistics (Kingsway), JGM Agency, Wilmott Dixon, PDS Doorsets, Hunter Price, Better Together Rochdale, Action Together, Harrisons ICS, Bamford Barista, TUI Rochdale, Miles Kelly Publishers, Falinge Park High School, Gener8, Business in the Community, Hopwood Hall College, Your Trust, Littleborough Boxing Club and Rochdale Rugby Union Football Club Ladies Team.