Friday 17th April – Latest toy industry reaction to coronavirus outbreak

Published on: 17th April 2020

Here’s Toy World’s latest roundup, including how The Entertainer, Very Group, Thames & Kosmos, Tonies and Aardman are doing their bit to show support.

The Entertainer has joined forces with Sainsbury’s, Palletforce, XPO Logistics and British Gas in an unprecedented partnership that will ensure the Trussell Trust and FareShare can continue to help support people struggling in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The unique cross-sector partnership will help distribute food nationwide to those that need it from foodbanks and community charities during the pandemic.

A statement from The Entertainer reads: “Community is at the heart of what we do, and we’re delighted to be able to support this wonderful initiative and help those at most in need in our communities. We’re in this together and together we’re stronger! Thanks to all involved in this big team effort.”

Even though, like most retailers, the Entertainer itself is coping with challenging times, the company is remaining true to its ethos of constantly looking at ways to help others. Services are being adapted to work in harmony with other organisations in order to assist the foodbanks and charities, which need help to provide the level of support that is in demand at the current time.

Gary Grant, founder and executive chairman of The Entertainer commented: “We’re extremely proud to have joined together with other retailers and businesses to support people in need within our communities during this challenging time. It’s both humbling and inspiring to see the outpouring of support for each other across the country and the coming together of retailers and businesses to provide help and support is something we’re delighted we can be part of. We hope the food will bring comfort to people who receive it in these difficult times.”

Teams from The Very Group have been packing parcels for local hospitals across the North West to provide tailormade hampers. Each box is full of useful items such as clothing to change into while scrubs are being laundered, new staffroom kettles and toasters, or iPads to help connect isolated patients to their loved ones.

“So proud to see our teams get together in support of the amazing NHS heroes,” the company said. “Our people make it happen and we’ll continue to pull together to find even more ways to support our local communities at this challenging time.”

Thames & Kosmos UK has announced that the company will henceforth allow retailers to sell on 3rd party websites with immediate effect, to enable them to maximise online selling opportunities. The company has also committed to continue to allow 3rd party sellers after the Covid-19 crisis has passed. Recognising that bricks and mortar retailers are making every effort to keep their turnover ticking over, Thames and Kosmos has confirmed that it is keen to support them as much as possible, supplying both Science Kits and Board Games that are both selling particularly well at the moment, with above forecast sales for both March and April.

Tonies has partnered with children’s author Giles Paley-Phillips to create an informative, reassuring audiobook about Covid-19. The free audiobook, which explains the global pandemic, has been launched online. It is hoped that the story will be a useful resource to help parents and encourage open parent-child conversation around the virus.

The book comes as new research shows that 65% of adults are seeking material that is helpful and practical in the wake of the pandemic. With more than a third (36%) of children admitting they are worried at this time, the audiobook covers what can be done to help combat the spread of the virus, including explaining the rules around social distancing and isolation, with instructions on the two-metre rule and washing your hands.

Manon Sel, country manager UK at Tonies, said: “Stories are such a powerful communication tool and during times of uncertainty their power to connect, educate and uplift for both adults and children is more vital than ever. We hope our free audiobook will prove a helping hand for any parents struggling to explain to their children social distancing, school closures or hygiene, but most importantly that it communicates a message of hope and togetherness.”

The audiobook is available to download free here. Those who already own a Toniebox can upload it onto a Creative-Tonie figure.

Shaun the Sheep printable colouring sheets are available from Aardman Animation featuring Shaun with a rainbow, the symbol of hope that many are displaying in windows during the coronavirus lockdown. The image has been designed to show support for everyone working hard to keep the community safe and well at the moment, and children are encouraged to #StayHomeWithShaun and join people all over the globe in displaying their completed artwork. The sheet can be downloaded here.


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