Last Christmas Dartford Living was proud to take part in the first Dartford Toy Appeal. Local people were invited to donate new toys for children who had been affected by domestic violence. It is fair to say the number of people donating quickly exceeded the expectations of all involved in setting it up. People were dropping off toys and bringing wrapping paper and batteries with them too. Businesses, nurseries and colleges were bringing boxes of donations, having organised collections themselves. Shops gave products they would otherwise have sold.

People often talk of the decline in community spirit, of an end of neighbour relations and a general isolation of interests. The Toy Appeal proved that this is certainly not the case in Dartford. The Toy Appeal was a localised appeal, which developed and grew organically. Everyone who got involved and gave did so without the promise of anything in return, aside from altruistic pride!

Stephen Oliver, who ran one of the drop off points commented ‘Seeing the Dartford community’s outstanding generosity at the Gallery for last year’s Toy Appeal was a heart warming experience for me. I am so glad it was such a success for all concerned, especially for the families under the care of the charity (Choices’This year we will be donating the toys two charities – Choices and the Parent’s Consortium.

The Parent’s Consortium is a local charity that supports disabled children and their families. They provide leisure services for disabled children with holiday play schemes, after school clubs, day trips and family support. For more details go to

Choices is a domestic abuse charity. They run four refuges in North Kent providing secure, temporary accommodation for women and their children who have had to leave their home as a result of domestic abuse. There webpage can be found at

The Toy Appeal will be running from 5th November to 13th December. Please take new toys, children’s books, wrapping paper or toiletries along to one of our drop off points:

Stephen Oliver Studio and Gallery – The Orchard Shopping Centre
Stone Parish Council Pavilion,
Wisdom Estates, 76 Spital Street
Darling Buds of Kent Florist – 33 Chastillian Road
Practical Van Hire – 18 The Brent
Campanile Hotel – Crossways Business Park, 1 Clipper Blvd W

For further detail email Kelly at