Children say thank-you for toy appeal gifts

Jeanette Walsh with some of the toys given to this year's appeal
Jeanette Walsh with some of the toys given to this year's appeal

The children who received presents donated to our toy appeal have thanked generous readers.

The Telegraph teamed up with radio station Connect FM to try to help make sure vulnerable children had a present to unwrap on Christmas Day.

The gifts, which included dozens of cuddly toys, books, games, scooters and even a guitar, were given to youngsters from Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough and Rushden living in care.

Jeanette Walsh, from the council’s children and young people’s services, said: “Every year I’m surprised by how generous people are.

“It’s not just the number of gifts we receive, it’s the quality of the items people donate – some people go to an awful lot of trouble and spend a lot of money.”

Here is what the children and their carers said:

“A family who I am working with suffered real hardship this Christmas.

“Father is an elderly gentleman and mother was living in a refuge in Northamptonshire after a family breakdown.

“Mother has no leave to remain and therefore has no recourse to public funds, father suffered a minor stroke and was unable to undertake small jobs that he had been doing to boost his pension.

“Father was caring for the children [two boys] and was devastated that he was not going to be able to buy Christmas presents for them.

“Mother had no money either and the boys’ Christmas looked bleak. However, we were able to provide the parents with gifts for the children and also the children were given little toiletry sets to give to their parents.

“Father was overwhelmed when the presents were delivered to him, and said that it never ceased to amaze him the kindness that people show to families like his.

“His actual words were: ‘My children can have the Christmas they deserve’.”

“I am still emotional after seeing my most vulnerable young person, a girl who will reach 21 years in a few days time.

“She is a person without family but has emotional issues from her past.

“She lives alone and would have no-one to buy her nice thoughtful gifts for Christmas.

“So when the opportunity to give her things I knew she might like came in the form of presents donated this year I jumped at it!

“I wrapped three gifts and a food parcel and took them around to her flat.

“Knowing her mood was really low I wasn’t sure of her response.

“To cut a long story short, we sat on the floor together and I spent time talking to her, I told her that I had brought her some presents that I thought she might like.

“When she opened one and saw a lovely pair of pink slippers a most unusual thing happened – she smiled! Love to those who made that possible.”

“The hamper was full of goodies, chocolate and strawberry jam. My young person had empty food cupboards, thank you to all who made this possible.”

“I would like to feedback regarding two families I have delivered presents to so far.

“The first was a young mum struggling on benefits to raise her two children, aged six and four, following her separation from their father. 

“She is receiving no financial support other than state benefits and upon delivery of some wonderful presents she filled up and said that they were ‘amazing’. 

“These gifts are clearly going to make a big impact on her children’s Christmas.

“The second was a family struggling with benefit problems. 

“A mother of three with a new baby due shortly had been worrying about not being able to give her children aged eight, six and four much for Christmas. 

“The children have had a really difficult year and she did not want them to feel they had been put on Santa’s naughty list. 

“She is now more able to prepare for the arrival of the new baby and ensure the family have a few extra treats for the holidays.”

“I gave a hamper to a young person and she was extremely pleased and enjoyed looking through the contents. 

“She said ‘Thank you very much’. She was particularly pleased that there was a box of chocolates in there!”

“Two of the young people are in local authority care. They chose presents for their siblings and wrapped them up before taking them home. 

“They were all really chuffed with what they had and wrapped them up and headed out with them with big smiles on their faces.”

“I received a call yesterday from one of the parents of the young people to say thank you very much for the gifts her son took home (he was one of the young people that helped out). 

“They are a family of five with lots of additional needs and heavy involvement from support services.

“The youngest daughter received a doll and outfits for the doll and hasn’t put it down since, she takes it everywhere with her and has named it. 

“The older son received an art kit which has been out on the table and has produced a mess but some great pieces of art as well. 

“The younger son received a truck that flashes and makes lots of noises and drives around the house. 

“I just wanted to feed back what impact such relatively simple gifts had on this one family and to say thank you on their behalf.”

“Mum would like to say thank you for the toys that she received as she would not have been able to buy the gifts she received.”

“Many thanks for the gift for my young person. 

“He was very surprised and a little taken aback but very happy to receive the gift. 

“He has promised not to open his gifts until Christmas morning.”

“I would just like to say a huge thank you for the gifts that has been bought in.

“I have a family where neglect is an issue and I have been working with them for some months now.

“I know these gifts are going to make these children have an extra special Christmas. Very much appreciated.”

“A nine-year-old boy, six and three-year-old girls, history of neglect and abuse.

“All children have speech delay and the nine-year-old displays emotional behaviours.

“Mother struggles to meet basic needs such as providing them with clean bedding and prioritises her own needs to those of her children.

“However, mother had a poor upbringing herself and was known to social services as a child.

“There are limited toys and games available on the home so the gifts will make a huge difference.”

“In this time of austerity it is really heart warming to know there are people and companies that go out of there way to donate gifts to those less fortunate.

“I feel it is as important for them to know how gratefully received they are.

“It is a very kind gesture particularly to for children who are often forgotten when more successful families are enjoying emotionally rewarding Christmases.

“My thanks go out to the companies and particularly Jeanette who I know works tirelessly, often in her own time to ensure that disadvantaged children receive presents.”

“My young people don’t have access to the internet, but they are all happy that we have taken an interest in getting things for them, they were surprised when I took the hamper to them on the amount of things they had.”

“One of the young people I work with started at university last September.

“He was really grateful to receive a gift when I visited him at his foster carers last week.

“Another YP I am currently working with is a very vulnerable who does not manage her life well; she is a young parent whose daughter stays within the family at her grandmothers. 

“I have seen this young person find transition to adulthood difficult due to her history.

“It was lovely to be able to take a gift for her and her daughter and it helps for her to know we care enough to take these gifts.”

“My young person who I received several gifts for was delighted. She spent Christmas on her own but having some lovely gifts to open made her Christmas more pleasant.

“Please pass on our thanks to the relevant donating companies.”

“I am living in a children’s home quite a long way from home and I do not see my family very often.

“My social worker gave me some gifts for me to give to my Mum and my brother and sisters when I spent some time with them on Christmas Eve.

“It felt really nice that I could do this. Also I had a gift for myself which was lovely, thanks.”

“Just a few lines to say, once again what a wonderful job it is that you do for these children over the most challenging time of year for them.

“When most of us take for granted being afforded expensive Christmas presents, a lot of these children would regularly go without if it was not for you.

“It is a real pity you can’t be around to see the look of excitement on some of the children’s faces when they are given one of your presents.”

“Thank you so much for all the gifts you bought over. Our young people are very lucky to have had the opportunity to receive so many.

“They were all very excited to see all their presents and we were able to match them up quite well with our young people.

“Some of our children do not have many family members so it was nice that they had lots of parcels to unwrap.

“Please pass on my thanks to the companies involved, it is appreciated. Thanks.”

“I gave presents to a family of seven children who were absolutely delighted with the gifts.

“The children ranged from three to 11, a mix of girls and boys.

“The family have been through a really hard time and it was a tremendous boost for them to receive an unexpected little bonus. Thank you very much.

“I was also able to give presents to a family who have been working with the department for some considerable time. 

“The family consists of four girls aged 16, 13, six and three.

“Each received an age-appropriate present which they really appreciated.

“I also gave presents to the children of a mother who was fleeing domestic violence.

“The children, aged five and two, have been living in a really cramped one-room flat and really lit up when they were presented with their extra gifts.

“They have been really struggling with finances and the presents were very gratefully received.”

“I handed over a couple of boxes of chocolates to a family I worked with and they were very grateful.

“Receiving a gift when you have several debts etc can give a family an uplifting experience at a time of year which can be very stressful.”

“Thanks so much for the gifts. The family I got quite a good response from. A family of seven.

“Mum was very grateful as she has recently been evicted from the home, the family left the home with nothing due to mum having no where to store her items.

“The family live in a guest house at the moment. When I delivered the items for the family the children was so excited.

“This made a big difference to the family’s Christmas.

“The mother has asked me to say a big thank you and your team. I am not able to express the excitement on the children’s face when I delivered the gifts.

“They thought that they would have nothing to open on Christmas Day. This has made a big difference to them.”

“Just a brief line to ask you to pass on thanks to the generous people who helped our disadvantaged families this Christmas by providing Christmas presents for their children.

“I was able to take presents out to a family where neither parent is in paid employment and they have five children, three of them are under the age of three.

“As you can imagine Christmas is a difficult time for them financially and these gifts helped make it a good time for the children.”

“One of the families was extremely grateful and really helped the family at a difficult time.

“This family had recently had a new baby and mum was having difficulties with her mental health and the gifts made a huge impact. Thanks.”

“The families who I sent gifts for have given wonderful feedback. I spoke to two on Friday after coming back and one today.

“One family said thank you and they could not believe the generosity.

“One family said that they couldn’t believe how personal the gifts were and wanted to send their thanks.

“One family said that the children were overjoyed that they had so many presents and they were glad they were things they could do with the children.”