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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

MEA Council launches pre-loved toys scheme for fifth year!

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, launching the scheme.


Give pre-loved toys a new home this festive season!


From Monday 30 October, Christmas toy containers will be set up at Mid and East Antrim Council’s five Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) and the borough's three leisure centres as part of a toy donation scheme.


For the fifth year running, Council is working in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, East Belfast Mission (Restore) and local community groups including - Larne Community Care Centre Group, Larne and Carrickfergus Locality Planning Group, Home Start and Horizon Sure Start - to deliver the ever-popular toy donation scheme.



Over 8.5 million toys are thrown away each year in the UK.


In 2022 Council diverted over 5.2 tonne of toys from landfill and gifted them to local communities - over 50% more than the 2021 tonnage diverted and gifted. Council is hoping to exceed this figure this Christmas to help reduce landfill, protect the environment, and help others.


Residents across the Borough are being invited to drop off pre-loved and unwanted toys to specially designated containers at each of the following sites - donated toys must be clean, complete and good quality i.e. what you’d provide to your own child.



BALLYMENA area


Waveney Road HRC, Ballymena

Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm


Seven Towers Leisure Centre

Monday – Friday 9am – 9pm

Saturday 9am – 5pm and Sunday 12pm – 5pm


LARNE area


Redlands HRC, Larne

Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm


Larne South HRC, Islandmagee

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday 9am – 5pm


Glenarm HRC

Wednesday and Saturday 9am – 5pm


Larne Leisure Centre

Monday – Friday 9am – 9pm

Saturday 9am – 5pm and Sunday 11am – 5pm



CARRICKFERGUS area


Sullatober HRC, Carrickfergus

Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm

Sunday 1pm – 5pm


Amphitheatre Leisure Centre

Monday – Friday 9am – 9pm

Saturday 9am – 5pm and Sunday 9am – 5pm.


Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, said:


“This scheme is the perfect opportunity for people to reduce the number of unwanted toys they have in a more sustainable way, all the while supporting those who struggle during the Christmas period.


“We hope that residents will drop off items such as: kids bicycles, scooters, plastic seesaws, small plastic slides, games, Vtech toys, jigsaws, books, dolls, robots and most plastic/wooden toys - in good working order.



“Council is always looking for ways in which they can support the waste hierarchy - which promotes prevention of waste and re-using - where possible. With Mid and East Antrim being the first Council area in Northern Ireland to set up a scheme of this nature, I’ve been amazed at the level of community spirit behind it, which has built year-on-year.”


Site attendants and leisure centre staff will direct residents to the Christmas Toy Container at each site. Council will then donate the toys to local charities,who will provide access to the public to purchase these unwanted and pre-loved toys, at a very reasonable price. Council will also provide toys to local community centres and other delivery partners who will gift them to local families across the Borough.



Isobel Kerr, Habitat for Humanity, adds:


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


A spokesperson for Larne Restore, said:


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


For further information, please contact waste.helpdesk@midandeastantrim.gov.uk or alternatively phone 0300 124 5000, Option 0.

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