Over 7,500 toys were collected by the Central Co-op Toy Truck as part of the Society's Christmas Appeal

A retailer is thanking the community for donating thousands of toys to children in the community.

Central Co-op has revealed that through the sheer kindness and generosity of its Members, customers and colleagues, it has received more than 7500 toys donated through its annual Christmas Toy Appeal.

This year the Society increased the number of stores its popular Festive Toy Truck visited to nine locations. The Central Co-op truck made stops to pick up toys and provide moments of joy at community stores in Northfield, Ibstock, Boley Park, Oakham, Orton, Dodworth, Eccleshall, Ripley and Reepham.

Sarah Dickins, Chief Member, Customer & People Officer at Central Co-op, said: “Our communities are at the heart of everything we do, and we always aim to make a difference where it matters most. This time of year can be so special and yet equally difficult for so many people and families.


Working with charities that deliver such incredible work in support of local communities through our Toy Appeal is another way we can make a difference to young people in the areas in which we operate.”

Items donated as part of the scheme are gifted to families across the country who need it most through a number of charity partners including:

  • Family Action, providing practical, emotional and financial support to those who are experiencing poverty, disadvantage and social isolation across the country.
  • Tackling Poverty Cambridge, running a Christmas Hamper project with Cambridge Food Bank, Cambridge Sustainable Food and Cambridge City Council to provide a hamper of delicious treats, fresh fruit and vegetables plus a gift for families in need.
  • The Salvation Army, creating lasting change for children threatened by abuse, violence, neglect and conflict.
  • Rainbows, caring for hundreds of families every year who have a child or young person with a serious or terminal illness.

In addition to working with these charities, Central Co-op has continued to partner with food banks local to its stores.

David Holmes CBE, Chief Executive at Family Action, said: “Every family deserves comfort and joy at Christmas, but with the high costs of food and utilities, many will find their holiday season stressful and difficult and it does seem, this year, that Christmas magic is in short supply.

“This is where organisations like Central Co-op come in and we want to thank all of their staff and customers for their extremely generous donations. With their support, more families will have a special gift for their children and together, we can keep the magic of Christmas alive.”

In response to Central Co-op’s Members choosing Shelter as its Christmas charity partner, the retailer has launched a new partnership to support the worthy cause in the work it does to provide information, care and advice to millions of people facing homelessness and experiencing unfit or unsafe housing. According to the charity, more than 131,000 children will wake up without a place to call home on Christmas morning, the highest number on record.

From December and for a limited period, donations made by Members and customers through the ‘micro-donations’ charity, Pennies will go to Shelter. Voluntary donations are made when people pay for their shopping or fuel by card and spend over £5. In its first week, the Pennies initiative has already raised £7,000.

Customers can expect to see offers on almost 100 products spread across weekly Star Deals found in Central Co-op stores. A proportion from Star Deal sales will support the Billy Chip Foundation in their mission to make a positive change to the lives of homeless people. So far, Central Co-op’s Star Deals have generated £18,000 for The Billy Chip Foundation.

Members and customers can also continue to support by buying tokens that people experiencing homelessness can exchange for a food and drink at Central Co-op stores and other participating outlets.