The real Santa, The real Elves, The real workshop


It’s December at Quattro, which means the warehouse is full to the brim with toys for very special children.  

With shoes too tight, no warm socks and no jacket for the rain, these boys and girls are hardened to having nothing.  They may be in temporary accommodation, experience painful hunger pangs and regularly become ill.  They may have unmet emotional and physical needs, disabilities or special needs, they may be victims of abuse or violence, but all are trapped in a cycle that is virtually impossible to escape. Their saddened and unlucky parents are unable to provide a special Christmas meal with crackers and full stockings; all the things many of us typically associate with a ‘normal’ Christmas.  These are families in poverty.

Behind the scenes, Kevin Jenkins and his team of volunteers are busy organising the Newham Christmas Toy Appeal at the Quattro warehouse.  Now in it’s 43rd year, the gift and seasonal food drive is run by the founder of the charity Ambition, Aspire, Achieve in conjunction with The Newham Recorder and Community Links.  They work hard to deliver Christmas to over two thousand underprivileged children.

Lego bricks, board games, footballs, dolls, soft teddies, handbags, make up sets and school bags are piled high and ready to be sorted by age/child and placed into sacks by volunteers.  Every detail is thought through, from the Christmas tree to the involvement of the parents who are provided with Christmas paper so they can wrap the gifts, a food parcel for the day and a Christmas hamper so that they can feel the warmth and togetherness of the day.

This year has been tougher than ever for the Appeal with less volunteers, less toys, shops closed and a record number of families and referrals to cater for.

‘2020 has been incredibly difficult’, says Lucy, who has volunteered for as long as she can remember. ‘We have new family referrals due to an unprecedented amount of job losses.  On top of this we have less people to help because of the pandemic, and we’re getting less donations as the shops are closed.  We have had to think differently, so we created an Amazon wishlist.  

Amazon Wishlist


Unsung heroes (pictured) Marie, Louise, Lucy:  Louise joined the volunteer team after witnessing first hand the levels of poverty in the primary school where she works. Marie has been volunteering for a decade.

Marie reflects, ‘The saddest thing about it is we see the same families year after year who cannot break out of the poverty cycle.’

Talking about what they really need before Christmas the three agreed, ‘We need more volunteers, anyone that can help us organise and bag toys.  We get a lot of toys for the middle aged children, but less for teenagers and babies.  For teenagers we need sweatshirts, school bags, deodorant, make up, socks, jackets, hats, watches and selection boxes.  For babies and under twos we need baby items, toys, baby grows, bottles, nappies and supplies.'

The whole process begins in October and runs right up until Christmas Eve. Now in it's vital closing weeks, there's still time to help.


Buy something from the Amazon wishlist

Amazon Wishlist

Donate to the appeal


If you could consider a few hours of your time to volunteer at the Quattro warehouse, please email

Contribute/Hand in

Any of the above listed items to:

Ambition, Aspire, Achieve Terence Brown Arc Hermit Road Park Bethell Avenue, Canning Town, E16 4JT

AAA charity founder, Kevin Jenkins OBE, says they are determined to deliver for these families.  ‘This has been our most challenging year, but I know we will get there in the end.’  Managing Director of Quattro, John Murphy added, ‘We are delighted to support this charity, which has now been bringing and organising toys here  at Quattro for over ten years.  It’s the least we can do for these children.’

For more information visit the AAA website:  AAA

AAA Teddy

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