Christmas toys collected for struggling families stolen

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Thieves broke in to a storage unit on Wednesday morning taking brand new toys, clothes and shoes, causing hundreds-of-pounds worth of damage

Thousands of pounds worth of toys and new clothes collected to help struggling families over Christmas have been stolen from a charity in Solihull.

Meriden Adventure Playground says its community swap-shop unit in Chelmsley Wood was broken into during the early hours of Wednesday.

About £2,000 worth of new and used items were taken.

Community support has been overwhelming with people offering new toys and to carry out repairs, a spokeswoman said.

Ali Wood said since they broke the news of what happened on social media people have contacted them to offer donations of money and toys, as well as offers of help to repair the damage.

The charity based in Meriden Park, Solihull regularly holds low-key events for families who are in need and gives them access to toys, school uniforms and clothing without embarrassment

"This year we branched out as a charity and bought lots of toys and books that could make presents for some of the local kids. Brand new kids shoes that had been donated to us by local companies were also taken."

She added: "I have to say the response has been amazing. We've had all sorts of help come in after people shared the appeal. It has certainly taken that sick feeling away in the pit of my stomach."

Over the summer the project got funding from Marcus Rashford's backed holiday activities and food programme and fed about 250 children a day, as well as provide school uniforms.

Ms Wood says despite what has happened "our community is worth fighting for and there is a tremendous amount to be positive about".

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