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Scottish children asked to recycle their unwanted toys

Release Date: 19 Oct 2012

Scottish children asked to recycle their unwanted toys and help Barnardo’s Scotland this Christmas

Children’s charity Barnardo’s Scotland has joined forces with UK toy giant Argos to launch its first toy exchange. The new initiative launched in Scotland today, 18 October, encourages parents and children across Scotland to donate pre-loved toys to raise money for some of the country’s most disadvantaged children and young people.

From today (18 October), ‘donation stations’ will be in operation at Barnardo’s Scotland and Argos stores across the country. Members of the public can donate unwanted toys in exchange for a £5 voucher towards the cost of new toys (minimum £35 spend) to be redeemed at Argos by 24 December.

New research by Argos shows that the average UK family has 80 toys but children only regularly play with one third of them, resulting in a huge 486 million un-played with toys in homes. Nearly a third (26 per cent) of parents in Scotland admitted to keeping unwanted toys at home and five per cent even confessed to throwing them away.

Scottish households have an average of 73 toys at home, and around 55% are second-hand, but just 28 per cent are regularly played with. However, 85 per cent of those surveyed claimed that they donate old toys to charity shops, and 75 per cent of Scottish people surveyed said that it was important to give something back at Christmas.

Gerard Cousins, Barnardo’s Director of Retail said:

We are very excited about this innovative project which gives children and their parents the opportunity to exchange ‘old for the new’ whilst helping some of the most disadvantaged children and families."

Christmas can be a difficult time for many, particularly those living in poverty and every penny raised through the sale of these pre-loved toys in Barnardo’s stores will go directly toward helping those in greatest need.”

Each year 13 million toys end up in the dustbin and landfill sites, many of which are in good condition and could be given a new home. In stark contrast there are currently 3.6 million children living in poverty in the UK which is almost a third of all children.

All of the toys donated through the Argos Toy Exchange will be passed on to Barnardo’s Scotland to be sold in its retail stores. Every penny of profit made in Barnardo’s Scotland retail stores then goes directly into their work with some of Scotland’s most vulnerable children and young people.

To donate toys to the Argos Toy Exchange, visit your local Argos or Barnardo’s Scotland store from Thursday 18 October 2012.

- Ends -

Notes to Editors

The ICM Research survey was of 1,000 UK parents of children aged under 18 years old, carried out in September 2012.

Barnardo’s has 500 retail stores across the UK selling second-hand clothes, toys and furniture. Visit:

How donated bags of unwanted toys can help Barnardo’s:

  • One bag could pay for a mobile phone top-up to enable a young carer to keep in touch with their parent whilst at school which could help lessen their anxiety
  • Two bags could pay for a taxi fare for a young carer in a rural area to be able to access a youth group or young carer’s group
  • Four bags could pay to keep Barnardo’s free helpline running for two weeks
  • Five bags could pay for five sessions for an activity of a young carer’s choice, allowing them to pursue a personal interest, develop skills and have a break from their caring responsibilities
  • Ten bags could cover the cost of running two drop-in centres for a month.

About Argos

Argos believes in helping every family thrive, which builds stronger communities. Since first opening 17 stores on UK high streets in 1973 Argos has been helping families live better for less while also having a positive impact in the communities in which it operates through local store activity and providing jobs and careers.

About Barnardo’s

Barnardo’s transforms the lives of vulnerable children across the UK through the work of its projects, its campaigning and its research expertise. Barnardo’s believes it can bring out the best in every child whether the issue is child poverty, sexual exploitation or disability.

Barnardo’s Scotland runs over 98 services that transform the lives of more than 10,000 children and young people every year. Their work includes:

• specialist educational needs schools

• fostering and adoption services and support

• helping children break free from sexual exploitation

• helping children living in poverty

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