Over five tonnes of toys donated in Mid and East Antrim appeal

Residents have been hailed for their generosity after more than five tonnes of toys were donated to Mid and East Antrim Council’s annual appeal.

From late October, Council invited people to drop off unwanted toys to recycling centres and leisure centres before being given a new home at the festive season.

The initiative was in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, East Belfast Mission (Restore) and community groups

The Christmas Toy Container pilot began in 2019 when residents donated a total of one tonne of items. The following year saw 1.5 tonnes donated and 2.3 tonnes in 2021. However, 2022 has been unprecedented, reaching double the previous year’s figure with 5.2 tonnes being donated.

Isobel Kerr, Habitat for Humanity ReStore manager; the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Noel Williams and Joe Lyttle, Habitat for Humanity ReStore driver.

The charities have seen the toys flying off the shelves, generating funds for them and providing lower cost toys for families.

In addition to this, council worked with Larne Community Care Centre and Carrick Community Forum who gifted the toys to families, helping to spread a little cheer at this time of year.

A new element was pop ups shops in Carrickfergus and Larne town centres in early December. Habitat’s ‘Restore’ shop in Ballymena also provided the opportunity to purchase a bargain.

The Mayor, Alderman Noel Williams, said: “We are delighted that through this scheme, a vast quantity of perfectly good toys were re-used rather than being thrown away. We are supporting the waste hierarchy which promotes prevention of waste and re-using, where possible.

“I visited the Larne pop up shop in early December and was amazed at the range and quality of toys on offer, and how the local community have really got behind the project. At this time of year, we know families can struggle with Christmas, and this year has been an even more challenging one with the increased cost in living.”

Low Incomes

He added: “I’m very much heartened by the volume of toys donated this year which demonstrates our residents generosity and by knowing that we have helped to bring a smile to our young ones on Christmas morning. Well done to everyone involved in making this our most successful year yet.”

A spokesperson for Habitat for Humanity said: “We are delighted to be part of the Christmas Toy Container at a time of year which can be so challenging for families on low incomes. We’ve been very excited at being able to offer families the opportunity to get good, quality toys at low cost.”

A spokesperson for East Belfast Mission commented: “Larne Restore have been delighted to be part of this great partnership at a time when we should all be thinking of others.”

Over 8.5 million toys are thrown away each year in the UK which adds to the landfill tonnage. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is helping to reduce this tonnage by building on the success of this toy donation scheme each year.

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