The Guildhall Shopping Centre is very excited to announce the launch of The Guildhall Great Big Christmas Toy Drive in partnership with the Exeter Food Bank and Radio Exe which will start in early November and continue till mid-December.
This Toy Drive aims to collect Christmas gifts for children under theage of 16 in Exeter and surrounding cities who are unable to otherwise have any presents due to the cost of living crisis.
Nikki Fairclough, Marketing and Customer Experience Manager said: ‘Everyone has been affected by the cost of living crisis and it’s those who were already stretching their budgets to the max who are suddenly starting to look to Christmas with concerns at so how they will cope. We want to work with our community to ensure no one is left behind this Christmas.
Partnering up with the Food Bank is just a dream come true for us in this initiative. They do such an incredible job and they will help us ensure every donated item will get to those who need it most. We are also thrilled to announce Radio Exe as a partner, they are a local radio station with community at their heart and with these two great partners, we know we can make this a great success.’
Mark Richardson of the Exeter Food Bank said: ‘We have never known a time like this. There are so many families facing financial uncertainty it seems that Christmas will cause worries for many people – including parents who want to give gifts to their children. We are delighted to be collaborating on this project. Because we operate a referral system, we know that the families coming to us cannot afford food. If they cannot afford food, then gifts and luxuries will almost certainly be a stretch too far for them to have a happy Christmas.
We really appreciate the support of the Exeter community at this time, and we hope that this will give parents a bit of much needed breathing space. As a dad, I know what it is like to want to give my children a special treat at Christmas – and we hope that this project does this for many families. Thank you for your support and kindness.‘
Ashley Jeary of Radio Exe said: ‘Times are so tough right now. The cost of living crisis, plus the lingering effects of the pandemic, are pushing local families who were just barely managing into financial difficulty. When Nikki approached me to get Radio Exe involved in this great initiative, we had to get the radio station behind it.
Christmas is a luxury some people just can’t afford when the choice could be between having enough money for food and heating, or buying gifts for their children. Every donation really has an impact and we want to get fully behind this as Devon’s local radio station. ‘
The Guildhall Shopping Centre will have two large collection points on site, one in the main mall near Wilko and another on the first floor by the Indoor Infant and Toddler Garden. People are encouraged to donate new toys up to £10 or vouchers from brands such as Superdrug, Wilko, Primark, WH Smith and any shop in Exeter with a focus on toys, books, toiletries or clothing. All items will be distributed to those in most need.
Nikki Said: ‘ We welcome children’s gifts of approx. £10 from any shop in Exeter. The idea that through spending just a little bit each, we can save Christmas for families who have already stopped believing they can provide a little gift for their children is amazing. We have been so lucky in the responses from our wider city network who are all keen to get involved and spread the word.’
The Guildhall Shopping Centre will start off the collection with 200 items across all age ranges. These items include building bricks from Wilko, sticker books from WH Smith and hats and gloves from Primark.
Collections start on the 1st of November.