DONATIONS of second-hand children’s toys have provided Wearside charity shops with a £4,480 bumper bonus.
Five Barnardo’s stores across the area took part in a six-week toy exchange campaign in partnership with Argos.
The drive saw an extra 448 bags of toys being handed in to the shops in Seaham, Pennywell, Pallion, Stockton Road and Chester Road compared to donations in other years.
Debbie Stoleman, store manager at Barnardo’s shop in Seaham, said people’s generosity has been overwhelming.
She said: “It has been one of the best years for donations.
“For a small shop, we do thrive. We are very, very well supported and I think it is a lot to do with the area and the people that come through the door. We are absolutely packed at the minute and although it looks a lot, we will be living on that during the bad weather when people don’t come in, so it’s great to keep us going.”
She added: “We have had all sorts – new toys and old toys, and big things like a play kitchen, two bikes and a dolls’ house. People are very happy with them and they’ve flown out. It keeps us busy, which is great.”
Jo Strachan, Barnardo’s North East area retail business manager, said she is “delighted” with the success of the Argos Toy Exchange.
She said: “Donations are essential in order to keep our stores trading.
“All profits from selling these items are ploughed directly into Barnardo’s work with vulnerable and disadvantaged children, so a huge thank you to everyone who has donated.”