MORE families than ever before have asked for support from Carmarthenshire County Council’s Christmas Toybox Appeal.

Families who have requested assistance are up 40 per cent on previous years, and despite more toys than ever before being donated to the appeal, co-ordinators are struggling to keep up with demand.

The deadline for donations has now been extended in the hope that more generous people will donate.

In particular, donations are being sought for older girls and boys. Anyone wishing to donate is asked to keep gifts unwrapped to allow for easier sorting.

All families who will receive support have been nominated by a social worker, family health visitor, or their school, and a strict process is in place to ensure help is given to those most in need.

The council’s Toybox Appeal is now in its eighth year, and was set up to prevent families going in to poverty or turning to loan sharks to get through the Christmas period.

The Appeal also helps ensure that no child wakes up on Christmas morning without a visit from Santa.

Cllr Mair Stephens, Deputy Leader of the council, said: “It’s really very sad that we have seen such a huge increase in the number of families who have asked for, or been nominated to receive, support.

“Whilst we are amazed by the number of gifts donated this year, unfortunately we do not have enough to meet the demand and we are appealing to the generosity of local people to help families who are less fortunate.

“We are still collecting donations, and in particular we are asking for gifts suitable for older children.

We really are very grateful of all donations.”

Council Leader Emlyn Dole added: “Our Toybox Appeal has seen unprecedented demand this year, and that in itself is a very sad reflection of the difficult times many people in our community are going through.”

To donate a gift, visit any of the below locations, or call Appeal co-ordinator Nia Thomas on 07814716380 to arrange collection.

You can make your donation at: Customer Service Centre, 3 Spilman Street, Carmarthen; County Hall, Carmarthen; Natwest Bank, Carmarthen; Blas Myrddin at Parc Dewi Sant, Building 2, Carmarthen; Block 1, Parc Myrddin, Carmarthen; Cillefwr depot, Carmarthenshire County Council, Johnstown, Carmarthen; Nant y Ci, Carmarthen; Llandeilo Community Education Centre; Tesco Ammanford; Town Hall, Ammanford; Pontyberem Hall; Town Hall, Llanelli; Hub, Llanelli; Cathedral Hygiene, Unit 1, Dragon 24, North Dock, Llanelli; Burns Pet Nutrition, Kidwelly; Jennings Solicitors, Llanelli; Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanell; Yr Atom, King Street, Carmarthen; Llanelli Library; Ammanford Library; Carmarthen Library

Also you can donate at leisure centres in Llanelli, Carmarthen, Ammanford, Newcastle Emlyn, Llandovery, St. Clears.