A grassroots football club in Hampshire have announced that they will be supporting the Southampton Toy Appeal this year.

Hamble Club FC is asking supporters to get involved with the toy appeal by donating a gift, recommended minimum spend of £7, for a child that is supported by Southampton Children’s Services.

The appeal is run by Southampton City Council and encourages members of the public to ‘help spread festive cheer to our vulnerable children and young people this Christmas’.

Brooke Veal-Weaver, Girls Development Officer at Hamble Club FC said: ‘’Christmas isn’t always about presents, but for children who don’t necessarily have something to open or a family to spend it with, just having something to open would be quite special.’’

The club has put up a Christmas tree inside their clubhouse displaying all the names of the children who will be receiving the gifts.

Speaking of what inspired her to get involved with the Toy Appeal, Miss Veal-Weaver said: ‘’In the doctor’s surgery last year, I saw that they had these labels on their Christmas tree, and I was quite intrigued to see what it was about.

‘’We couldn’t do it last year due to timing but as soon as I could this year, I got in contact with the organiser of the appeal and said that we wanted to help out.’’

She added: ‘’If someone wants to help with the appeal, they get to choose who they want to buy for.

‘’The labels with each child’s name on will then get attached to the presents and we’ll wrap them.

‘’It makes it that little bit more personalised.’’

Pictured left to right: Colin McPherson (Toy Appeal), Councillor Satvir Kaur (Leader of Southampton City Council), Laura Read (General Manager of Westquay Shopping Centre) and Councillor Alex Winning (Cabinet Member for Children and Learning) (Credit: Southampton City Council)

The appeal was officially launched for its 35th year running at West Quay Shopping Centre on Friday 17 November.

Both Councillor Satvir Kaur, Leader of the Council and Councillor Alex Winning, Cabinet Member for Children and Learning were in attendance.

Councillor Winning said: ‘’Our city has a huge heart.

‘’Buying an extra gift and popping it into one of the drop-off points around the city can make a child or young person’s day special.’’

He added: ‘’No child or young person should be forgotten.’’

If you wish to donate a gift to the toy appeal, presents can be dropped off between 9–3pm at Hamble Club FC’s clubhouse which is situated on Hamble Lane, Hamble, SO31 4BU.

The club is accepting donations until Monday 4 December, when they will then take all the presents to the Civic Centre in Southampton city centre.

Alternatively, there are many other available drop-off points around the city that will be open for donations until the last day of the appeal, Sunday 17 December.

These include:

  • Westquay level three, next to Auntie Anne’s Pretzels – Any day (9am-8pm)
  • Civic Centre or One Guildhall Square reception desk – Monday-Friday (9.30am-5pm)
  • Libraries: Central, Shirley, Lordshill, Thornhill, Bitterne and Portswood – Monday-Saturday (10am-4pm)
  • Tudor House – Monday-Thursday (10am-3pm) and Saturday-Sunday (10am-5pm)
  • Southampton City Art Gallery – Monday-Friday (10am-3pm) and Saturday (10am-5pm)
  • Sea City Museum – Any day (10am-5pm)
  • Marlands Customer Service Desk on the ground floor – Any day (9am-5pm)
  • The MAST – Any day (10am-5pm)
    St Patricks Catholic Primary School, Woolston – Monday-Friday (9am–3pm)

By Emilie Mwanza

Founder of Beyond The 90. Trainee multimedia journalist based in Preston.