THE GLASGOW Times Bank on Us toy appeal has been declared a success after helping saving Christmas for tens of thousands of children across the city.

As the coronavirus pandemic raged throughout the country, charities and toy banks were inundated by those worried about providing gifts for their children over the holidays.

Throughout December we called on our kind-hearted readers to dig deep to help struggling families over the festive period.

With your support, we raised more than £15,000 worth of toys and gathered hundreds more of your donations.

The gifts were delivered to two dozen different charities, toy banks and schools ahead of December 25 last year.

Christmas for tens of thousands of children throughout Glasgow was saved as a result.

Our charity partner Glasgow’s Spirit of Christmas, which is run by the Cultivating Mindfulness charity, was responsible for 18,000 little ones receiving a gift under their tree last month.

Thanks to the help of Glasgow Times readers, the charity was able to reach such a high number of donations that it was able to not only complete deliveries for its referred list of youngsters, but also ensure presents for those on its waiting list.

The group’s Julie Griffin said: “It was amazing. It was our most successful year to date, with more than 18,000 children receiving gifts.

“We had no clue how it would go last year - considering everything going on - but people were really keen to keep supporting the campaign.

“It was phenomenal. I can’t tell you how delighted we all were.”

She added: “To be able to help, not just our list, but kids on our waiting list as well, it was great.”

Meanwhile, award-winning actor David Hayman’s charity Spirit Aid also benefitted from the campaign.

Strict restrictions put in place to control the spread of Covid-19 meant the charity was faced with an “uphill battle” in it’s bid to serve the local community.

However, the City Centre based group worked around the clock sorting thousands of donations to help 16,000 children wake up to a present on Christmas morning.

In a statement, the charity said: “We have seen an incredible effort from all our volunteers in difficult circumstances to get food and children’s gifts out to give a helping hand to those who may be struggling this Christmas.

“Things are different. There are many folk who always “managed” but the disruption to their jobs that Covid-19 brought and the biting austerity has seen them need a wee bit of help.

“That’s what caring communities do. They rally round and look after each other and the Spirit Aid community has really proved this to be true.”

It added: “Thank you to everyone who has supported us in this, the most difficult of years.

“When Covid-19 struck, we lost all of our fundraising activities for the year, and to be honest it looked bleak but the response from the Spirit Aid family was remarkable and we could never have imagined just how much our work meant to so many.

“We don’t know what 2021 will bring but we do know that we will be here to provide help to those in need because of your support.”

As well as larger institutions, the Bank on Us campaign helped reach some of the city’s smallest and newest charities - such as G53 Together in Pollok, which was set up in response to the pandemic, and MsMissMrs, which aims to empower women to overcome trauma and hardship.

As previously reported, parents and staff from local schools, including Riverside Primary in Govan and Barmulloch’s St Catherine’s Primary, were moved to tears upon hearing of the donations they had received for youngsters.

The work of the campaign would not have been possible without our sponsors Scotwest Credit Union, football website Open Goal, First Bus, A1 Toys and Storage Vault, whose founder John McGlynn also matched £5,000 worth of cash donations.

Glasgow Times assistant editor Stacey Mullen said: “This has been an incredibly difficult year for thousands of people and, while Christmas can always be a stressful time, the difficulties faced by families at the moment are like no other.

“We wanted to do all we can to help take some of that pressure away and do all we could to save Christmas.

“We’re so grateful for the support of our readers who have truly went above and beyond to ensure no child will wake up without a gift under their tree.

“Thanks to all who took part and to our incredible sponsors for their hard work.”