Unwanted, good quality toys that would otherwise be destined for the tip will be cheering up needy children this Christmas. Workers at Sandwell’s household recycling centre in Oldbury are being Santa’s little helpers by collecting unwanted toys to donate to families. The project is being run with children from Bristnall Hall Academy, former recycling centre worker Tony Martin and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals (SWBH) NHS Health Visiting Services.

Staff are encouraging visitors to the tip to hand over good quality toys that would otherwise go into the recycling bay. The toys are sent to pupils at Bristnall Hall Academy who are wrapping the gifts to handover to health visitors, Brushstrokes and Black Country Women’s Aid.

Tony Martin, who dreamt up the scheme, said: “From starting this campaign three years ago to what it is today is amazing. One minute the toys are being dropped off at the household recycling centre and the next they are wrapped up ready to make a difference to a child’s Christmas.”

John Mason, Serco’s general contract manager added: “We get many items that are no longer wanted and often unused brought to us at the recycling centre. It’s great to see the toys being given a second opportunity to be enjoyed. We invite Sandwell residents to visit our site and give what they can.”

Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for highways and environment Councillor David Hosell added: “It’s surprising what people throw away – especially when it’s the time of year to have a clear out before children start receiving Christmas presents. I’d ask anyone who has some unwanted toys that could be passed on to a new home to drop them off at the tip.”

Principal at Bristnall Hall Academy Vince Green said: “Our amazing students empathise greatly with the  challenges some families in our communities may face this Christmas and wanted to make a difference.”