A group that makes sure no child misses out on the magic of Christmas is determined coronavirus won’t stop them this year.
Renfrewshire Toy Bank was started three years ago by Renfrew mum Lauren Roy-Sutherland.
She works with charities, community groups and social work staff who refer children who may be missing out on presents due to their home life.
Lauren and her team of volunteers work year-round bagging bargains in shops or online whenever they see them and applying for funding.
Now they’re getting geared up for their busiest time of year when the presents start going out to those who need them most.
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Lauren said: “We do stuff behind the scenes all year round. I’ve always got Christmas in my head!
“I’m constantly applying for funding and we buy things whenever we see bargains in the shops.
“I did some research and found some charities would give out a bag of generic toys to children of different ages. I wanted this to be more personal.
“We’ve had great feedback from children and particularly teenagers who have said it felt like a really personal present.”
This year, Lauren plans to hand over bundles of toys and wrapping paper to the groups she’s linked with for them to distribute, but she’s still keen to make sure the presents feel personal.
“They know who would like what toy or present,” she said.
“And, this way, there are less people handling things.
“We will still take requests if people know a child would like a particular toy or a teenager is looking for something a bit older, like some perfume or clothes.
“We don’t want to take away the personal side of it, but, at the same time, we’ve got to be safe.”
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Renfrewshire Toy Bank had 1,500 referrals last year.
While there will be community drop-offs in place, as in previous years, Lauren recognises that, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it may be easier for people to help by donating money.
She’s hoping if people are still keen to support they project, they’d consider donating to their PayPal account then volunteers can buy what they need.
Lauren explained: “Our PayPal link is open all year round. If people could donate even a couple of pounds, that would really help.
“People are so generous – it’s amazing. We can bulk buy things online with the donations and it can make everything much easier.”
If you’d like to find out more or volunteer with Renfrewshire Toy Bank, go to www.facebook.com/renfrewshirechristmastoybank
Or email them at email@example.com
To donate via PayPal, go to https://www.paypal.me/renfrewshirectb