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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Council’s 2022 Christmas Toy Appeal an amazing success!

A huge thank you to the amazing residents across the Borough who donated toys to Council’s annual toy appeal - reaching over five tonnes of toys this year!

From late October, Council invited Mid and East Antrim (MEA) residents to drop off pre-loved and unwantedtoys to recycling centres and local leisure centre’s‘Christmas Toy Containers’ across the Borough – to be given a new home this festive season.

Council worked in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, East Belfast Mission (Restore) and local community groups including Larne Community Care Centre and Carrick Community Form to deliver this annual toy donation scheme.

The Christmas Toy Container pilot began in 2019 when residents donated a total of one tonne of toys. 2020 saw 1.5 tonnes donated, with 2.3 tonnes last year. 2022 has been an unprecedented year reaching double that figure, with 5.2 tonnes being donated this Christmas.

The charities have seen the toys flying off the shelves, generating funds for their organisations and providing lower cost toys for families in Mid and East Antrim.

In addition to this, Council worked with Larne Community Care Centre and Carrick Community Forumwho have gifted the toys to local families, helping to spread a little cheer at this time of year.

2022 saw a new element of the project with pop ups shops being hosted in Carrickfergus and Larne town centres in early December.

Habitat’s ‘Restore’ shop in Ballymena also provided the opportunity to purchase a bargain. Residents had the opportunity to avail of a great range of toys, helping with the overall cost at an expensive time of year.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Noel Williams, said:

We are delighted that through this scheme, a vast quantity of perfectly good toys were re-used rather than being thrown away. We are supporting the waste hierarchy which promotes prevention of waste and re-using, where possible.

I visited the Larne pop up shop in early December and was amazed at the range and quality of toys on offer, and how the local community have really got behind the project. At this time of year, we know families can struggle with Christmas, and this year has been an even more challenging one with the increased cost in living.

“I’m very much heartened by the volume of toys donated this year which demonstrates our residents generosity and by knowing that we have helped to bring a smile to our young ones on Christmas morning. Well done to everyone involved in making this our most successful year yet.”

A spokesperson for Habitat for Humanity, said:

“We are delighted to be part of the Christmas Toy Container at a time of year which can be so challenging for families on low incomes. We’ve been very excited at being able to offer families the opportunity to get good, quality toys at low cost.”

A spokesperson for East Belfast Mission, added:

“Larne Restore have been delighted to be part of this great partnership at a time when we should all be thinking of others.”

Over 8.5 million toys are thrown away each year in the UK which adds to the landfill tonnage we through away in one year. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council are helping to reduce this tonnage by building on the success of this toy donation scheme each year.

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