Santa to visit Lisnagelvin Shopping Centre in Derry with River Radio

Santa will be visiting Lisnagelvin shopping centre on Saturday, November 27 at 2pm in conjunction with River Radio’s Christmas Toy Appeal.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 1:57 pm
Updated Friday, 26th November 2021, 2:13 pm

The visit will be free and the chairperson of River Radio, Gerard Doherty, wants to encourage everyone to attend, especially those who are struggling financially this Christmas.

He explained, “We will be having a big event in Lisnagelvin where Santa will come to Toy Town with the Mayor and some mascots. The Council have donated selection boxes and the parents take the pictures on their phones so it is completely free. It’s all part of the toy appeal, giving back to the people who might not be able to afford to see Santa.

“My daughter Yazmin was four last year and when we were watching tv about children who were struggling during the pandemic, she said to me, ‘daddy I want to help them.’ I thought, we have a platform that we could use so why not? She’s not aware of how big it has become and in a way, I don’t want her to. There’s no difference in helping two people or two thousand people, it all matters so I want her to know that.

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Yazmin came up with the idea for the Toy Appeal last year.

“Our mission is that no child in the North West wakes up on Christmas morning without a toy. We helped thousands of families last year, this year the demand has more than doubled. We will continue to do this every year now. We have partnered up with Salvation Army to distribute the toys, obviously we need to make to sure the right families receive the toys. People can reach out to the charity if they need support, I understand that some people might not feel comfortable talking to a public media organisation so the charity is there to act in that way. Toy Town in Lisnagelvin are our other partner, we met the manager there last year and we came up with the idea together and have built on it since.

“There are so many businesses and schools donating toys now and the demand is so high here too. All the toys we get donated will be delivered to children right here in the North West. The furthest a toy will go is to Limavady and Strabane so this is local people supporting local people. This just shows that there is an unbelievable number of children here that could go without at Christmas and most of us wouldn’t even know. The Salvation Army said that they would have struggled to cope with the demand for toys this year but now that so many people have donated, they can focus on providing food for people who need it instead.

“If people want to donate but they can’t go to see Santa tomorrow, they can go to our Facebook and see all the drop off locations where they can leave toys. In terms of donating money, we prefer if people went to Toy Town in Lisnagelvin where they can pick a toy and pay for it. They put the receipt in a box after it’s paid for and we give them to Salvation Army so that there is accountability and people can be sure their toys are going to the charity. It’s a great system. So instead of giving money to River Radio, we would rather they bought a toy or left one at a drop-off location.

“The cut off period is the 23rd of December. We will have distributed most of the toys by then but that gives us a chance to send the remainder out. We will start to package the toys next week for the Salvation Army to start sending them off.” Santa will be in Toy Town from 2pm and more information can be found on River Radio’s Facebook Page.

River Radio's Big Toy Appeal this year.
Yazmin loves to help out with the toys