Banff Toy Bank returns to help families during the festive season

Banff Toy Bank has returned to provide support to families who need assistance this Christmas.

Now in its fourth year, the group collect new and second hand toys to give to local children to ensure they have gifts to open for the festive season.

It now has a new location with it based in the former Janitor’s House at Macduff Primary School.

The toy bank covers an area from Portsoy along the coast and inland to Turriff.

Founder Naomi Earsman said: “We started the toy bank at the River Church in Banff.

“It was becoming apparent at the time that food banks were really needed and I thought it must be the same with other things like buying toys and gifts at Christmas.

“I was on the committee of Banff Playgroup then and was working with young children and families and I thought it would be such a good idea to start the toy bank to ease the pressures on families during the festive season.

“The first year we worked out of the church and for the past two years we were in a unit under the arches at North Castle Street.

“This year we are in the former Janitor’s House at Macduff Primary School, which provides us with more room.

“Also we have started earlier, beginning in November rather than waiting until to December, to make it easier.

“As the years have went on we’ve got busier and busier, and people are also donating more to us.”

Banff Toy Bank founder Naomi Earsman with her son Cooper.

Naomi is helped by a group of eight local mums.

Families who are in need of assistance can contact the group through its Facebook page or email address. They can also be referred through the Banffshire health visitors or Aberdeenshire Council’s social work department.

When the group receives a request for support the volunteers make up boxes of toys or can provide individual items.

They will ask parents for the children’s ages and interests, so they can tailor the gifts in the boxes to suit.

The families can then pick them up from the toy bank or they can be delivered.

It is open on Wednesday and Friday evenings from 7.30pm to 9pm. In December the group is also looking into opening through the day. It will provide assistance right up to Christmas Eve.

As well as second hand donations, the group has an Amazon wishlist where supporters can buy any new toys that are needed.

Naomi added: “People have been so generous and we are grateful for all the support we receive.”

Anyone who needs more information, assistance or wants to donate to the group can contact the volunteers through their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/banfftoybank or email [email protected]

Related story: Banffshire And Buchan Coast MSP Karen Adam urges families to use Toy Bank


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