A-MUM-OF-TWO launched a Christmas gift collection scheme this month and, after already receiving more than 1,000 donations, she has sent off the first batch to Worcester Foodbank (WFB).

Sam Harvey, 32, is currently on maternity leave with her 10-month-old son, and decided to launch the Droitwich, Bromsgrove and Worcester Christmas Toy Collection after seeing how many toys her two boys accumulated.

Sam, an accountant from Wychbold, said: “The reason for doing this is to recycle perfectly good toys to help local families who could use a little bit of support this year.

“The toys will, of course, be available to all families including those that do not celebrate Christmas – with Christmas approaching, that was just what started my initial idea.

“I usually put together shoeboxes to send abroad,” she continued.

“But I noticed myself how quickly children grow out of toys, having two boys of my own. They’re perfectly good toys but kids just get bored with them. It got me thinking that there would probably be other families who had things to donate.

“It helps to make room for Christmas,” she added.

Sam, whose other son is two-years-old, donated the first load of around 100 brand new toys to WFB this week.

She will also be sending donations to the Droitwich Foodbank and West Mercia Women’s Aid, and is hoping to collect enough to then send some to Catshill Foodbank and Action for Children.

She is also in talks with West Mercia Rape and Sexual Assault Support Centre about passing on gifts to the organisation’s resident cared for children.

WFB were given the “first batch to help give them a head start with their Christmas gifts scheme, because they start quite early with that,” said Sam.

“But most places don’t start collecting until the first week of December.”

The collection points Sam has set up are at David Lloyd’s gyms in Worcester and Bromsgrove, Morrisons and Beehive Hair and Beauty in Bromsgrove, Crown Inn in Wychbold, and Starbucks, Anytime Fitness and Spa Medical Practice in Droitwich.

“As soon as I started advertising it, I was bombarded with calls and messages, and donations flooded in to the donation points,” said Sam.

Private collections have also been organised by Blitzbody Bootcamp in Worcester, BHI Parkside Medical Centre and Little Wonders Twins and Multiples Group in Bromsgrove and The Beauty Room in Wychbold.

WFB started donating gifts of new toys to clients of the foodbank for birthdays and Christmas around two years ago.

Some families in parts of the city and surrounding area have already been transferred to the Universal Credit benefits replacement scheme, which currently has a six-week gap before the first payment.

Grahame Lucas, WFB manager, referring to those waiting on UC payments this Christmas, said: “What on earth does a family say to their children when Father Christmas can’t visit them? It breaks my heart. That’s what we’re doing here, we’re trying to help with that.”