Over 500 unclaimed children’s toys left on London’s transport network has been donated to charity.
A mountain of new, unclaimed children’s toys which were handed in to Transport for London’s Lost Property Office this year have been given to The Salvation Army to donate to children in south London so they get a gift this Christmas.
Exactly a month before Christmas, TfL gave over 500 lost toys to the Deptford branch of The Salvation Army, for their Christmas Present Appeal. The Salvation Army is to work with Lewisham Council to distribute the toys to those who will appreciate them most and may otherwise have gone without this Christmas. This is the seventh year TfL’s Lost Property Office has donated new unclaimed children’s toys to The Salvation Army. All the brand new toys donated were left on the transport network and went unclaimed for over three months, they have all been provided in their packaging and will bring joy to children of all ages as they range from dolls and play sets to board games and electronic gadgets. Paul Cowan, Operations Performance Manager of the Lost Property Office, said: “Although it is a shame that these toys were not reclaimed by the original owners, the thought that they will now bring smiles to the faces of many children who might otherwise have gone without is heartwarming. The fact that so many brand new toys have been handed in is also a testament to the honesty of the travelling public in London.
The team at the Lost Property Office work extremely hard throughout the year to deal with hundreds of thousands of items of lost property and it is great to see their efforts highlighted once again through this donation to such a worthy cause.” Captain Kevin Stanbury, of The Salvation Army’s Deptford Community Church, said: “This donation from Transport for London is invaluable in allowing us to provide toys to children and families who would otherwise go without this Christmas.
The Salvation Army work closely with local council outreach workers to ensure that the toys go to those who are most in need. As a Church and charity we look to be there for people when they need us, not just at Christmas but all year round, by offering compassionate support and practical help which we hope our toy appeals are one example of. We hope families and children who were facing a bleak Christmas can now feel the joy and happiness that the season should bring.” It is estimated that the Lost Property Office has received over 15 million items since it was established in 1933.
Last year, over 246,000 items of property were found on the TfL network, ranging from bags, books and clothing to mobile phones, laptops, wallets and cameras. Over the years, many extraordinary items have been handed in to the Lost Property Office including false teeth and limbs, wedding dresses, stuffed animals, an urn of ashes and even a parachute. Close to one quarter of items found on the network are restored to their owner. Higher value items and those with unique identification, such as mobile phones and wallets have a better success rate with up to half being returned. Items not claimed after three months have personal data removed and securely destroyed before either being donated to charities including The Salvation Army and the British Red Cross, recycled, disposed of, or sold at auction. Any revenue generated from unclaimed items contributes towards the cost of running the Lost Property Office.