Single mum 'overwhelmed' by Newport Christmas toy donation appeal

  • Watch Marina Jenkins' report on the Toys for Families Christmas appeal

A single mum-of-five from Newport has said receiving presents for her children from a toy donation appeal has made her Christmas.

Nadassa Gulwell, from Bettws, told ITV Wales she felt nervous to ask for help but has been "overwhelmed" by the kindness of people in her community.

"I needed help last year, but I didn't want to ask for it because I felt a bit embarrassed and ashamed," Nadassa explained.

"But this year, I thought 'I am going to' because times are hard. All my money basically goes on my rent, my food, gas and electricity bills. Whatever is left is not enough, there is nothing for Christmas.

Nadassa contacted the Toys for Families appeal, founded by friends Dom Cook and Jodie Matthews during the pandemic to help struggling families.

More than 200 families will be receiving presents from the appeal this year.

The appeal has grown over the years, from helping a few families in Bettws to now serving more than 200 families across Newport this Christmas.

Dom Cook said: "This year, the demand has been huge. The volume of toys, at times, has been overwhelming because we have had so many donations.

"The community has rallied behind the appeal to get this all done. Everybody knows what it is like to go without so it really hits people in the heart."

In Bettws, one in three children live in poverty according to Save the Children.

When the managing director of Newport City Radio heard about the appeal, Ian Lamsdale wanted to help spread the word.

Newport City Radio has supported the appeal on-air and through the station's social media.

Ian said: "It's personal because growing up my family didn't have a lot of money. But I did always have a Christmas present. It may not have been what I always quite wanted, but it was more than enough.

"So we can't have any child growing up not having a present on Christmas Day. I can honestly say all these donations are just above and beyond."

Names are kept confidential when parents message with their child's name and age.

The presents are then selected and sorted by volunteers and delivered to the family's door.

After receiving presents for her children, Nadassa said: "It has taken a weight off my shoulders. Seeing their faces and smiles, it just melts me. Really overwhelming."