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Celebrating Community Compassion: Christmas Toy and School Uniform Schemes’ Success

Last year, over 7,500 good quality school uniform items and 6,800 new and pre-loved toys where received through Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s School Uniform and Christmas Toy Schemes.

This success would not have been possible without the help of many community organisations and businesses across the Borough. These groups received recognition for their contribution at a Celebration and Networking Event held at Mossley Mill on Monday 5 February.

The increased cost of living pressures last year impacted families within the Borough, and many were faced with anxiety about the costs associated with the start of a new school term or the very real pressure and hardship the Christmas period can bring. This event sought to recognise and appreciate the collaborative efforts made by community organisation and businesses to alleviate these strains.

The eleven community organisations who participated in the School Uniform Re-Use Scheme helped to support over 1,000 families with preloved items. Likewise, the support of 11 community organisations and 3 businesses during the Community Christmas Toy Scheme helped provide toys to approximately 1,100 families.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Mark Cooper commented on the night saying,

“It has been heart-warming to see how many of you gave up your time and demonstrated incredible kindness and community spirit to ease the financial burden on so many families and I think we can agree most importantly of all, children did not miss out on the special magic of Christmas.

“Although the figures do speak for themselves, behind each one of these figures is a real and lived experience of hardship and evidence of the immeasurable impact on these lives you are making through your time and effort to deliver these vital schemes for our local families.”