Mid and East Antrim Council launches appeal for donations of pre-loved toys in the run-up to festive season

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has launched an appeal for donations of pre-loved toys in the run-up to the festive season.
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From today (Monday, October 30), Christmas toy containers will be set up at the council’s five Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) and the three leisure centres as part of a toy donation scheme.

For the fifth year running, the 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 scheme.

Over 8.5 million toys are thrown away each year in the UK. In 2022, the 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.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, launching the scheme.  Photo: Mid and East Antrim Borough CouncilMayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, launching the scheme.  Photo: Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, launching the scheme. Photo: Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

MEA 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, 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, Sunday 9am – 5pm.

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

Site attendants and leisure centre staff will direct residents to the Christmas Toy Container at each site. The 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 families across the borough.

Isobel Kerr, Habitat for Humanity, added: “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 the organisation was “delighted to be part of this great partnership at a time when we should all be thinking of others”.