Thrive Together Birmingham is joining forces with the Edgbaston Foundation and Birmingham PlayCare Network in response to a plea from Birmingham’s Children’s Centres to help collect gifts to keep Christmas special for some of the most vulnerable children and young people in Birmingham this year.

Last year the organisations worked together with residents, organisations, and businesses from across the city to collect over 16,500 toys and gifts via a donation centre at Edgbaston Stadium for those who could not afford them. This year even more families have been driven into hard times and so we are asking if the people of Birmingham would once again dig deep to help.

People are asked to work with neighbours and colleagues to safely collect and deliver unwrapped gifts to Edgbaston Cricket Ground on:

Saturday 27 November 11am-3pm

Friday 3 December 11am-3pm

Saturday 4 December 11am-3pm

2020 was a tough year for everyone due to the Covid 19 pandemic, but for some 2021 has proved even tougher and the prospect of Christmas fills many parents with further dread as they simply cannot afford to buy presents for their children. Many are struggling to afford the essentials for their families and a gift to bring a child joy is simply not possible.

Fred Rattley, CEO of Thrive Birmingham, said: “We are looking for new or nearly new toys, crafts and books to help keep Christmas special for everyone. It troubles me that so many more people have been thrown into poverty by the Covid 19 pandemic and then as the year has progressed other factors have added to the financial pressures on them so that many families are now really struggling financially.

“We were bowled over by the level of support we received in 2020 at our donation centre at Edgbaston and had hoped that would be a one-off collection. When we have been aware of the pressures families were facing so when we were asked to repeat Toys4Birmingham by the people who have the closest contact with struggling families we had to respond hoping that the community of Birmingham might support us once again to help buy an extra gift or two this year for a child who otherwise would get nothing.”

Birmingham Play Care Network led on the distribution of gifts last year, though the Birmingham Children’s Centre network were quick to agree to join in organising this year’s event. Through their work they knew that even more families needed support than 2020 so jumped at the opportunity to collect toys and gifts for children and young people aged between 0 and 16.

Emma Payne from Birmingham PlayCare Network said: “We know of many parents who are concerned that they cannot afford to buy presents for their children this year. Our connections with grass roots organisations who support these most vulnerable families will ensure that these gifts are received by families and children who really need them and are often missed out by other appeals. Play should be an essential part of every child’s Christmas and this appeal will go some way to try and achieve that.”

Edgbaston Stadium has once again generously allowed the organisations to use their venue for two weeks as a central collection point and distribution centre.

Ravi Masih, Head of Community Engagement at Warwickshire County Cricket Club and Lead of the Edgbaston Foundation said: “We are delighted to once again partner with Thrive Together Birmingham, after our successful collaboration on the #FeedBirmingham and #toys4birmingham initiatives in 2021.

“Responding quickly to emerging needs in the community is vital in the current climate. Toys4Birmingham is an example of this, as we quickly mobilised once we heard about the need to support children this Christmas. There are now many families for whom, despite their best efforts, Christmas will be difficult, and we were keen to play our part in trying to ease the pressures and giving local children the best Christmas possible. I hope everyone who can, will get behind #Toy4Birmingham by donating a toy or book at the stadium on one of the collection days.”

Anyone who would like to donate money rather than toys for the appeal can do so here: https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/18697

All money donated through this campaign will go directly towards buying gifts for vulnerable children and young people whose families might not otherwise be able to afford Christmas presents. These will be distributed through the work of Birmingham Play Care Network, Birmingham Forward Steps and other partners who work directly with vulnerable families.

People can also buy gifts online and have them delivered to Toys4Birmingham at Edgbaston Stadium up to 15 December.