Over 1,600 local children receive gifts as appeal issues ‘heartfelt thanks’

Council volunteers,
Council volunteers including (left to right) Laura Greenwood, Kelly Crossley, Phillip Beasley and Amelia White were amongst a host of volunteers who helped to collect, sort and distribute the gifts.

Published: 16 January 2023

A big team effort for the Rochdale Giving Back Christmas Toy Appeal meant over 1,600 less fortunate children had gifts to open on the big day.

Residents and businesses stepped up to help, donating more than 5,000 toys and gifts which were sorted and delivered to local homes.

Councillor Rachel Massey, cabinet member for children’s services and education at Rochdale Borough Council said:

“Despite the difficulties people are facing, to see the huge piles of gifts arriving was very moving and I am grateful that so many people took the time to help. I know we can’t thank everyone personally and you didn’t see the smile your gift brought to a child’s face, but I would like you to know what a difference it made. Thank you.”

Policy advisor Helen Walton, from the Giving Back charity and the driving force behind the annual appeal, added:

“As well as individual donations we saw many businesses coming forward. I know families who pooled funds and went on shopping sprees, and workplaces who abandoned their usual Secret Santa to become the ultimate Secret Santa for children. I also thank our volunteers who gave up their time to collect, sort and distribute all the gifts.”

Volunteers with Councillor Rachel Massey.

Councillor Rachel Massey with staff at The Highfield Hospital who collected gifts for the appeal. Councillor Massey was contacted by a resident who wanted to donate their 40th birthday money to buy gifts for the appeal and said she was so proud so see so many kind gestures.


Since 2014 the appeal has provided festive cheer for thousands of children and teenagers. It is organised by the council’s ‘Giving Back’ charity in partnership with Rochdale Football Club, Rochdale Riverside, Your Trust and Rochdale Town Centre Management.

Businesses and other organisations that helped included A&F Sprinklers, AIG Insurance, The Beach, B&M Bargains, Business in the Community, Browns Jewellers, Globe House, Harrisons ICS, The Highfield Hospital, Hopwood Hall College, Hunter Price, JGM Agency, Lidl, The Trussell Trust, Northern Employment Services, Littleborough Boxing Club, Lock 50, Makin Dixon Solicitors, Miles Kelly Publishing, Rochdale Online, The Old Police Station, Signals IT Ltd, Werneth Masonic Lodge, Wilmott Dixon and The Works.

Helen and Councillor Massey hope the generosity can continue:

“It’s going to be another difficult year for many with the cost of living crisis, but please support your local foodbank if you can and look out for others.” said Helen.

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