Children across the West Midlands will enjoy a happier Christmas thanks to the amazing generosity of strangers. Kleeneze agents invited their customers to add a children’s toy to their catalogue orders, to be presented to families supported by Barnardo’s. Hundreds of customers responded to the appeal and donated around a thousand gifts worth a total of more than £3,000. The toys, dolls, puzzles, books and games were presented to the Barnardo’s Fox Hollies Children’s Centre in Acocks Green on Tuesday from where they will be distributed to services across the area.

Staff will then wrap the presents and give them to families who might otherwise struggle to celebrate Christmas. The collection was organised by a group of independent Kleeneze distributors from south Birmingham, Coleshill and Solihull, including Geoff Owen from Shirley. Geoff said: “Each year we organise a toy collection in aid of Barnardo’s, offering customers the opportunity to donate gifts while purchasing their usual household and personal products.

“There’s always been an amazing response. We’ve been collecting for around six years and think we’ve received more than 7,000 presents. “We would like to thank all of our loyal customers for helping us to put a smile on the faces of so many children this Christmas.” Barnardo’s children’s services manager Jarvia Blake said: “We are sincerely grateful for this generous donation and would like to thank everyone who took part in the collection.

“There are many families who cannot afford to celebrate Christmas this year but these gifts will help them to realise that they are not alone and they are not forgotten.” Fox Hollies Children’s Centre is managed by Barnardo’s on behalf of Birmingham City Council and provides free support and advice to local parents and carers of under-5s. Activities include parenting programmes, breastfeeding peer support, healthy eating, baby massage, play sessions and links to local health services, education, training and employment.