Despite the extraordinary challenges of 2020, the charity still donated over £100,000 to help kids and their families.
"Dear colleagues and friends," writes Toy Trust committee chairman Graham Canning. "I hope you, your families, friends and colleagues are all keeping well.
2020 was certainly no ordinary year, and I wanted to share with you a fantastic summary of the projects the Toy Trust supported in 2020. Covid-19 made for an extremely challenging year for many UK children's charities the Toy Trust supports, many of whom saw their income severely impacted and, in some cases, completely depleted during the Covid-19 pandemic.
I am pleased to report that the Toy Trust Committee remained active in 2020 and felt compelled to respond positively. We invited small UK children's charities, which had received support within the last three years and were already known to us, to apply for funding. We assessed applications carefully in line with the Toy Trust’s application criteria, to ensure funds achieve the best possible outcome for disadvantaged children all over the UK through grants given.
As always, you can get involved in fundraising for the Toy Trust this year; more details are available at the end of this article. In the meantime, I encourage you to place your bid in the annual Media Auction which is now live. There's plenty of valuable airtime to bid on, generously donated by our media partners. All funds will go to the Toy Trust. The deadline for the auction is Monday 1st February at 5pm.
The Toy Trust will remain active in 2021. We will shortly be re-opening applications for funding, which will be available once more to small UK children's charities this year. Supporting our chosen charities would not be possible without you, so on behalf of the toy trust committee, thank you."
Below are some examples of the charities supported by the Toy Trust in 2020
Handicapped Children’s Action Group (HCAG)
Handicapped Children’s Action Group is a registered charity working to provide specialist equipment for children with disabilities, learning difficulties and other special needs. The children, from all areas of the UK, are unable to obtain this equipment from the NHS and because of the cost. It is also usually unaffordable by the families.
HCAG currently has a long waiting list of children requiring trikes, buggies, car seats, wheelchairs and sensory equipment. Covid-19 has depleted its income, and priority has been given to children requiring trikes and buggies since they provide mobility to children who cannot walk. The Toy Trust gave £5,000 to this very well-run charity, which brings mobility to children across the UK.
Here is Henry from Leicester enjoying his new trike, which allows him to get out and about, and to take part in bike rides with his his family and friends.
Bradford Toy Library
In 2020, the Toy Trust supported Bradford Toy Library with a donation of £5,000 to fund a “Boredom Buster Bags” initiative during Covid-19 lockdowns.
Founders Michelle and Emma said: "With help from The Toy Trust we were able to help families with Boredom Buster bags which included food, kitchen essentials, and a selection of either specialist toys or sensory equipment. Each package was bespoke to the child and the family. May we take this opportunity to thank you again for supporting us, and enabling our families to have something to look forward to every week."
NARA - The Breathing Charity
NARA – The Breathing Charity is the registered title for ‘The National Association for the Relief of Apnoea’. Since 1984 the charity has assisted many those who suffer or know those who suffer from a variety of respiratory conditions. Through its ‘Breathing Monitor Appeal’ and ‘Breathing New Life Campaign’, NARA provides medical equipment that relieves symptoms, helping the patient to breathe easier and enabling a more normal lifestyle.
Ann Jiggle, Chair at NARA, said: “We were delighted to receive the Toy Trust’s wonderful gift of £5,000 in July 2020, to support work being carried out by NARA`S UK Child Health Community Care Programme. Offering a simple 'Thank you' for your generosity never quite feels like it is enough; you help us to continue to provide and strengthen vital services to children who struggle to breathe. The funds have helped NARA purchase specialised nebulisers and suction machines helping those with Palliative Conditions to breathe, giving physical, emotional, sensitive support. Thank you."
Bag Books designs and produce multi-sensory books for children with profound, multiple learning disabilities. The charity's books can be found in 94% of special schools, where caregivers are also trained in multi-sensory story telling techniques. The Toy Trust grant helped Bag Books produce 350 of its hand-crafted, multi-sensory workbooks, which featured a brand-new story, 'The Friendly Caterpillar'.
William is nine and has profound and multiple learning disabilities. Born with a brain malformation, he has the cognitive and physical abilities of a newborn baby and needs one-to-one care throughout the day. William's mum, Helen, talks about the difference Bag Books has made to William and his family: "We get quite emotional watching Williams sister tell him a Bag Book story. It’s lovely to see her interacting and talking to her brother; she likes sharing the story as it gives them meaningful time together. Bag Books has provided William with more opportunities to engage with the rest of the family and broaden the world around him.”
All Hallows Bow
Sara Brayford, fundraising manager at All Hallow's Bow, said: " The Toy Trust's support has meant we've had the resources to provide flexible and Covid-safe support to vulnerable families with young children throughout the changing restrictions over the last six months. We used our funding to put together 36 Storysacks, which we've used to run socially distanced play sessions at our centre, and to lend out to families to use at home. Video support from our team has been made available during lockdowns, when in-person work was no longer possible. One of the most important things for us is being a consistent part of the lives of vulnerable children and families. The Toy Trust's support has given us the resources we've needed to be there for families in a very stressful and isolating time.
It's meant that disadvantaged children have still had access to play-based learning, and that our team has been able to continue providing high-quality input to support children's learning and development in a safe way throughout the pandemic. The story-themed toys we were able to buy with The Toy Trust's funding have really helped us keep bringing books to life for the children we work with, and continue planting that love of reading. As we head into week three of our third lockdown, the Storysacks are coming into their own again. Thank you so much!"
The full list of charities supported by The Toy Trust in 2020:
- The Daisy Garland
- The Voice that makes a difference
- All Hallows Bow
- Cedarwood Trust
- Dingley’s Promise
- NARA The Breathing Charity
- The Bradford Toy Library
- Handicapped Children’s Action Group
- Shepherds Bush Families Projects
- Walsall Bereavement Support Service
- Quaker Service
- Dorset Children’s Foundation
- Tarka Child Contact Centre
- Brighter Opportunities through Supported Play
- Barton Community Association
- WHISH – Whitby Hidden Impairments Support & Help
- Beryl Thyer Memorial Africa Trust
- Christchurch Open Awards Centre
- Special Stars Foundation
- Bag Books
- Children’s Aid Team
- Friends of Alfreton Park
- Reading Family Aid Group
- Three Ways School
- The Jessie May Trust
- Special Educational Needs Families Support
- CP Sport
- The Churn Project
- Friends of St Luke’s
- Living Paintings
- Pontllanfraith Children’s Contact Centre
- Families United Network
- Noreen’s Kids
- Wyvern School Foundation Trust
- Devon Development Education
Inspired to do something for the Toy Trust in 2021?
Readers are advised to get in touch with The Toy Trust or visit the charity's website to make a donation, view its upcoming events, and download fundraising materials.
If you have a fundraising idea of your own, please email Matt@btha.co.uk to discuss how it can be brought to life.