Boxes bursting with sport inspired toys donated to Charnwood children

Children in need in Charnwood will receive a Christmas treat this year to help them have fun and enjoy sport over the holidays, thanks to a partnership between Loughborough charity the Youth Sport Trust and the Charnwood Christmas Toy Appeal.

Boxes bursting with sports themed goods and toys that inspire physical activity and active play have been sent to help young people have some much-needed fun by staff across the country at the Youth Sport Trust.

The activity boxes add to the 668 bags of toys that have already been gifted for children aged 0 to 16 by the Charnwood Christmas Toy Appeal for distribution across the area by 200 social workers. 

Will Roberts, Chief Operating Officer at the Youth Sport Trust, said: 

As a national children’s charity, we work in all areas of the UK – from Aberdeen to Cornwall - supporting disadvantaged children across the country to experience the life changing benefits of sport. This year we wanted to make a special effort to give something back to the children who live in Charnwood, where the Youth Sport Trust is based, to mark our 25th anniversary. 

“2020 has seen us drop in and out of lockdowns, with a pause on school and grassroots community sport as we know it, which has caused a worrying decline in children’s levels of physical activity and poor mental wellbeing.  

“We know that playing sport and keeping active can help pave the road to recovery for a generation of children who have seen the most extraordinary disruption to their lives and education this year. We hope this small gift from our charity will go some way in providing some much-needed joy to children this Christmas. A huge well done to the volunteers of the Charnwood Christmas Toy Appeal who work so hard across the year to ensure children most in need have a happy Christmas.” 

A typical trainer box designed and donated by individual members of staff at the Youth Sport Trust included: 

  • A ball 
  • A sport inspired book 
  • Water bottle 
  • Skipping rope 
  • A message from a member of staff at the Youth Sport Trust 

The Charnwood Christmas Toy Appeal is run by five volunteers and headed up by chair Ruth Townsend. The small team have worked tirelessly since the start of the first lockdown to sort toys and pack all 668 toy gift bags for young people and families who usually wouldn’t be able to afford Christmas presents.  

Each bag is individually packed with a specific child in mind. The appeal works with foodbanks like the Trussell Trust, social services and other charities to identify those most in need. In 2020 they have seen increased demand.  

Ruth Townsend, chair of the Charnwood Christmas Toy Appeal, said: 

Typically, we would gift to an average of 500 children, but this year we have seen an increase in demand. Every single toy bag we pack and donate goes to a child who would usually go without or receive a secondhand gift. Some of these families we support literally have nothing, not even carpet on the floor. 

"We are a small group of volunteers and grateful for all the support we receive every year from the likes of Helen Jean Cope, NatWest, Leicester City Football Club and 3M. This year, we are thankful to add the Youth Sport Trust to our supporter base and for the donations it has provided."

The Charnwood Christmas Toy Appeal takes donations all year round which can be dropped off to them at NatWest in Market Square, Loughborough.