Stirling’s community is rallying once again to ensure children and young people facing a host of difficulties will at least have a better festive season.
Not only does the appeal exist to ensure no child goes without a gift on Christmas morning, it also aims to show vulnerable and disadvantaged young people – and their families – that their community and neighbours care.
Appeal coordinator, Observer reporter Kaiya Marjoribanks said: “Every year we acknowledge that part of the reason for the appeal is to show youngsters and their families that their community is not oblivious to their struggles and admires their bravery.
“This is not just about giving a child or young person a gift to open – it’s about making them feel less isolated. Over the last couple of years that objective has been put in even sharper perspective.
“Christmas is often a time when many children and their families feel more isolated than ever as they see others apparently enjoying activities while they feel on the sidelines. That can be for financial reasons, illness or disability or personal circumstance.
“That’s why we strive to provide toys and gifts to as many local charities and good causes as possible. It’s also a thank you to them for the work they do all year round.
“Stirling Young Carers for example has been involved in the appeal since 2008. Young people with caring responsibilities miss out on a great deal, and many of them have seen their caring roles increase massively over the pandemic, but the charity does an incredible job of supporting them. Being able to give these terrific young people a gift helps to acknowledge that their efforts are recognised and admired by the wider community and that people really do care for carers.
“Others who have been involved from the beginning include Stirling Council’s social services, Home-Start Stirling, PLUS, Cornton Vale and Glenochil Family Hubs and Stirling Women’s Aid.
“And over the years we have been able to bring on board Forth Valley Royal Hospital’s children’s ward, and Support4Families among others.
“Some of the many community groups who have emerged during the pandemic also now help distribute the gifts and we also aim to respond to one off approaches from any source supporting a child in need.
“Whatever the reasons that these children may need our help, the one common dominator is that none of them have any control over their circumstances, so it’s up to those of us who can help to lighten their load to do just that.”
Running since 2008, the appeal receives and distributes donations of new toys and gifts for sick, disabled, needy and disadvantaged children and young people aged from babies to teenagers.
If you would like to organise a collection of gifts at your workplace, school or group, would like to be one of our official drop-off points, or would simply like more information, contact the Observer by phone on (01786) 451110 or email: [email protected] or [email protected]
We will aim to photograph and feature as many collections as possible in the Observer in the run-up to Christmas.
Drop off points include: STIRLING – Morrisons supermarket, Springkerse Retail Park; Barber Co, 20 Upper Craigs FK8 2DG; Nationwide Building Society, Port Street; Jintz Express, 1, 5 Munro Rd, Stirling FK7 7SY; Waitrose, Burghmuir Retail Park FK7 7NZ BALFRON Andrew Anderson & Sons, 64B Buchanan Street G63 0TW; BANNOCKBURN – Jintz Express/Post Office, 17 Quakerfield; CALLANDER – Tesco Express, Main Street; DUNBLANE – Beech Tree Cafe, 2 Beech Road; FALLIN – Tesco Express, Stirling Rd FK7 7JW; RAPLOCH – Andrew Anderson & Sons 90 Drip Road FK8 1RN.
•Toys and gifts – Gifts should be new and unused and left unwrapped. This year we would ask supporters not to donate cuddly toys if possible as the charities may have difficulty placing these for health and hygiene reasons.
•Vouchers – Given the current pandemic, we are also giving the option of donating gift cards and vouchers to offer some flexibility to both those donating and to the charities. Please mail vouchers and cards, marked Stirling Observer Toy Appeal, c/o Kaiya Marjoribanks, Mailroom, One Central Quay, Glasgow, G3 8DA. Please include details of the value of the gift card or voucher. If you would like a confirmation of receipt, provide your name and postal address or email address.
•Drop-off points (see above) – The Observer office is closed for the time being and not one of the drop-off points this year, however, we are grateful to the other drop -off points accepting items.