More than £2,500 and 1,200 toys have been donated by Essex County Council employees, in a festive effort to brighten up Christmas for disadvantaged children.
Teams across ECC have ditched the often-cheesy Secret Santa concept, to bring a smile to the faces of over 1,000 young people in Essex who will not get a gift this year.
Toys and games were dropped at County Hall in Chelmsford throughout November, with money being donated online using JustGiving.
The donated money has since been spent on brand new gifts and brings the total number of presents to well over 1,200.
These gifts - including footballs, teddies, books and various other special treats – will be wrapped by the teams of social workers all over the county and then distributed to hundreds of underprivileged children ahead of the big day.
Cllr Dick Madden, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Adults and Children, said: “For many of us, Christmas is the happiest time of the year, but it can also be an opportunity for us to recognise those who are less fortunate.
“This is a fantastic example of colleagues working together for a great cause - every child deserves to enjoy the festive season and this is a brilliant way of helping them to do just that.”
The idea was suggested by ECC employee James Dyble, who said: “It’s amazing what we have achieved and it’s all down to the generosity and goodwill of ECC staff.
“So many children across Essex, through no fault of their own, will not get a present this Christmas. The whole idea was to make sure as many children as possible woke up on 25 December with a present waiting to be opened.”