IT is your chance to put a smile on thousands of children’s faces this Christmas.

That is the message from Southampton Voluntary Services (SVS) who have launched this year’s Toy Appeal.

There are 2,635 children who need presents and the Daily Echo backed appeal, which is the biggest in the south, is calling on businesses, schools, community groups and residents to dig deep for the city’s most vulnerable and needy youngsters.

For 33 years the appeal has spread the festive spirit to thousands of children – and this year it hopes to be bigger than ever.

The charity’s Family Projects Team, which is based in St Mary’s, coordinates the appeal by consulting a number of organisations who compile a list of names of the county’s most needy children.

Each child’s name, age and gender is written on a gift tag which SVS distribute to people willing to buy a gift.

The present, up to the value of £10, is wrapped with the label attached and returned to either SVS or designated collection points.

All presents are collected by SVS volunteers at the beginning of December.

An official launch ceremony takes place at the Mayor’s Parlour in Southampton Civic Centre on Tuesday, December 4, where people who have supported the appeal will be invited for a reception with refreshments and carols sung by a local school choir.

The gifts are returned to the organisations that requested them ready to give to the children at Christmas.

Last year 2,100 gifts were given out.

Without the public’s help many children would not receive a present.

Jacqui Honeywell, who coordinates the appeal, said: “In some cases a gift from the Toy Appeal is the only gift a child will receive this Christmas, and this year due to the economic climate we are struggling more than ever.”

To take part in the SVS Toy Appeal contact Jacqui Honeywell as soon as possible on 023 8021 6041 or email

Presents must be returned to SVS by Friday, December 7.