Transport for London’s (TfL’s) Lost Property Office has donated more than 400 new children’s toys and games to The Salvation Army in support of their Christmas Present Appeal.The donation, now in its ninth year, includes a wide variety of toys that were found on the TfL network but remained unclaimed for more than three months. Traditional favourites such as teddy bears, dolls and board games were included, alongside modern gifts such as remote controlled cars, helicopters and other electronic gadgets.
The Salvation Army will work with local care services in south London, including those from Lewisham Council, to distribute the toys among disadvantaged families and children who may otherwise go without this Christmas.
Paul Cowan, Operations Performance Manager at TfL’s Lost Property Office, said: “It’s a pleasure to once again be able to donate so many new toys at a time of year when they will be most appreciated. By supporting the Salvation Army in their Christmas Present Appeal, hopefully we can make life that little bit easier for some families who are experiencing hardship.
“The team at the Lost Property Office work exceptionally hard all year round to reunite owners with their property. The thought of hundreds of children smiling at Christmas as the result of something we have done is hugely gratifying.”
Captain Kevin Stanbury, leader of The Salvation Army's Deptford Church and Community Centre, said: “The genuine impact that this donation will make cannot be overstated. Working with marginalised and vulnerable families, we know only too well the difficulties many face in attaining even a basic level of shelter, food and clothing at this time of year, let alone in providing gifts for their children at Christmas.
“What makes this appeal special is the fact that we can engage parents in the whole process of selecting, boxing, wrapping and presenting these new toys at Christmas, thereby preserving their dignity at the same time as bringing a little joy to their family. We are extremely grateful to the team at TFL’s Lost Property Office for supporting our work.”
Last year, over 300,000 items of lost property were found on TfL’s transport services, including London Buses, London Underground, London Overground, TfL Rail, the Docklands Light Railway, licensed taxis, Victoria Coach Station and the Emirates Air Line. Of these, around one in five (21 per cent) were successfully returned to their owners. For high value and identifiable items such as cameras, laptops, briefcases and tablets, the restoration rate was more than forty per cent.
Items not claimed after three months have personal data removed and securely destroyed before either being donated to charities including The Salvation Army, Scope 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.
As the busy festive season approaches, passengers are urged to take extra care of their belongings when using TfL services and to report any suspicious items or behaviour to a member of staff or a police officer.
For more information about the Lost Property Office, please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/lostproperty