Over 470 Rotary clubs raised £130,000 to deliver close to 5,500 toy boxes to children in refuges over Christmas.
Working with children’s charity, KidsOut, between October and December 5,488 Rotary Christmas Toy Boxes were packed and distributed right across the UK.
As well as raising the funds for the boxes, filled with brand new toys, Rotary members also gave their time to help pack and load the boxes at KidsOut’s Luton-based warehouse.
For many years, Rotary has supported KidsOut and the National Rotary KidsOut Days in June each year, with a festive counterpart also taking place in December, where disadvantaged children go on fun days out at venues nationwide, from theme parks and zoos to pantomimes and Santa’s grottos.
But with these unable to take place in 2020, KidsOut have had to adapt.
As one of many charities who have seen their fundraising streams cut off with events unable to take place, the knock-on effect, the charity says, is “devastating for children’s services”.
KidsOut has shifted its focus, and even temporarily changed its name, to ‘KidsIn’, seeking to help children who will be even more isolated by the pandemic, with a particular focus on those who have been effected by domestic violence, instances of which have sadly increased since the national lockdown began in March last year.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed police recorded over 259,000 domestic-abuse related offences between March and June 2020, a 7% increase on the same period in 2019.
This service has brought joy to the children in refuge, and relief for the mums.”
With the vision of ‘Every Refuge, Every Child’, Rotary and KidsOut did just that, providing a toy box to all children seeking sanctuary in a Women’s Aid Federation refuge.
ROTARY CHRISTMAS 2020 TOY BOX
The Rotary Clubs of West Bromwich, Oldbury & Smethwick & @KidsOut donated 54 sacks of presents for kids in refuge , just wonderful, thank you for making Christmas so special and for your support all year round!! pic.twitter.com/YSunntSc0C
— Black Country Women's Aid (@BCWomensAid) December 23, 2020
Christmas is normally a time of joy and excitement for children, but that couldn’t be further from the truth for those in refuge.
One refuge worker said: “This service has brought joy to the children in refuge, and relief for the mums, knowing they have had help to make Christmas in refuge a little more special.”
To find out more about KidsOut, visit their website.