Appeal for winter toys and food

Azhar Patel of Location Location

Hackney families are being urged to donate to a winter toy and food appeal for children in need in the borough.

StokeyParents, a family website in Stoke Newington, has joined forces with estate agent Location Location to collect toy and food donations for Growbaby, the Ivy Street Family Centre and Hackney Food Bank.

Jenna Fansa, founder of StokeyParents, said: “It’s hard to imagine a more polarised borough than Hackney. Forty-two per cent of Hackney’s children live in poverty and many families are dependent on the local food banks to survive.”

“Meanwhile many families are living in relative affluence and it’s right that we do something to help,” she added.

“Stoke Newington, Dalston and Clapton have an amazing sense of community spirit and I hope we can tap into that and help make winter special for children who are living in very difficult circumstances.”

According to StokeyParents, 191 local families have been declared homeless so far this year and 2,029 Hackney children are living in temporary accommodation. Around 55 families are currently at immediate risk of homelessness in Hackney.

Angela Large, manager of the Ivy Street Family Centre, said: “Every week we are seeing families who have no access to public funds. They live in cramped rooms in a temporary place and they don’t have much at all – certainly nothing nice.

“This winter appeal will remind families in need that they’re cared about and that there’s a supportive community willing to help.  It will definitely put some smiles on children’s faces.”

Toys collected by StokeyParents will go to children aged newborn to 11. Families are asked to donate toys with a Lion Mark CE for safety. New toys are preferred but used ones will be distributed to families at other times or sold in aid of Growbaby.

Among the items requested by the Food Bank are mince pies, chocolates, luxury biscuits, advent calendars, tinned ham, Christmas pudding and Christmas crackers.

Parents are asked to donate items at Location Location on Stoke Newington Church Street. It is hoped more drop-off points will join soon.