SCOTLAND'S First Minister has backed the Glasgow Times Toy Bank appeal to save Christmas for the city's children.

Nicola Sturgeon described our campaign to increase toy donation ahead of December 25 as “excellent”.

On Friday, we launched our campaign urging readers to fill a special bag – given away with the Glasgow Times – with gifts for youngsters who face waking up without a present under the tree this year.

The bag is to be released on December 4 with more details on how to donate coming later this week.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Christmas will look a bit different this year but that doesn’t mean it should be any less special and no child should have to miss out on the joy of Christmas thanks to circumstances out of their control.

“This is an excellent campaign designed to encourage people to come together and give what they can to help those who need it most.

Read more: Help save Christmas with Glasgow Times toy appeal

“Now more than ever this support is essential as more families are feeling the economic impact of Covid-19.

“We will continue to provide families with the support they need, at Christmas and all year round, as we work towards our goal of eradicating child poverty but in the mean time I would encourage anyone who is able to support this fantastic campaign to take part and spread some festive cheer during a year when it is sorely needed.”

The Glasgow Times is Bank on Us appeal follows our successful food bank drive, which sought to increase the number of donations throughout the city.

We've partnered with Storage Vault, A1 Toys, Open Goal, Scotwest Credit Union and First Bus to help make the dreams of thousands of Glasgow youngster's possible this Christmas.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie has also backed our plea.

He said:"The Bank on Us campaign is a chance to share a bit of Christmas cheer with those who are struggling this festive period.

"The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating not just for public health but to families who are struggling to get by.

"I hope that everyone will get behind this campaign and help to ensure that there's a welcome surprise waiting on Christmas Day for as many households as possible."

The paper bags can be dropped off at local toy banks after being filled.

Those who are shopping online will be able to take advantage of our partner A1 Toys special click and collect feature.

For every customer who is using the service, the brand will offer the opportunity to purchase a toy for a child in need this Christmas.

The retailer will then add 20% value to the bag as a thank you.

All the toys placed in the bag must be brand new due to coronavirus restrictions.

Meanwhile, a number of local city councillors have also gotten on board and urged their constituents to look out for the bags when they become available in less than two weeks time.

Read more: Help save Christmas with Glasgow Times toy appeal

Newly elected Glasgow Labour leader Councillor Malcolm Cunning said: "I am more than happy to add my support to your Bank on Us Campaign. This year, more than ever, we all need a little joy in our lives over Christmas.

"For many families, the cost of Christmas will be an even greater strain than usual.

"I hope through our collective efforts we can bring the joy of Christmas to every Glasgow home and every family."

Our campaign comes as toy and food banks across the city prepare for an influx of requests for help this festive period.

Each year, hundreds of families walk through their doors in desperate need of assistance, however, as the pandemic brought about job losses and business closures, it's expected that number will sky rocket.

Glasgow Conservative leader Councillor Thomas Kerr insisted there is no greater time to take part in the campaign than now.

He said: “I’m honoured to support the Glasgow Times’ Bank on Us campaign to help bring a little joy to kids this Winter.

"With lockdowns and quarantines and travel restrictions, this festive period is really like no other and many families are facing huge financial pressures trying to make ends meet.

"A toy or two on Christmas Day will really make all the difference to children in Glasgow to help bring some hope back into their lives.

He added: "I’ve already bought a selection of toys ready to be donated and I hope that anyone who is able to do so fills the paper bag on December 4th.

"More than ever, Glasgow children need a treat from Santa this year and I know many parents and carers in the East End where I represent and throughout the city will be so grateful for a little help this Christmas.”

As previously reported the campaign is also attracting celebrity support with Love Island winner Paige Turley backing the "fantastic" appeal.

She said: “Bank on Us sounds like such a fantastic campaign to help the families in Glasgow who are struggling to treat their little ones this Christmas.

“Please do get involved and donate at your nearest toy bank from December 4.”