A HIGH street retailer is looking to give “the gift of play” after launching a Christmas campaign to help underprivileged children.

The Entertainer, which has a store in Festival Place, has partnered with the Salvation Army to launch the Big Toy Appeal, as it bids to give as many underprivileged children as possible the joy of opening a present on Christmas day.

The Big Toy Appeal encourages customers to pick up an extra toy to donate when they visit one of the Entertainer’s stores or shop online at thetoyshop.com.

And for every toy donated, the Entertainer will also donate a toy, doubling the number of donations.

Gary Grant, founder and executive chairman of The Entertainer, said: “At The Entertainer we believe that every child deserves the gift of play.

“The Big Toy Appeal is all about making Christmas Day easier for those families who struggle at Christmas by providing toys to open on the big day.

“For every toy donated, The Entertainer will also donate a toy. Toy donations will then be distributed into the community via The Salvation Army for families who need our help the most.

“We encourage anyone who can afford to take part to donate a toy so we can help as many families as possible together.”

Government statistics show that 4.1 million children are currently living in poverty – the equivalent of nine children in every classroom of 30.

Last year, the partnership between the retailer and the Salvation Army enabled over 40,000 gifts to be distributed to children who might otherwise not receive anything at Christmas.

Tony Daniels, Director for Community Services for The Salvation Army, said: “During the festive season, many people will enjoy celebrating with their friends and family, sharing gifts together.

“But while for some this is a happy time of year, for others, things are a real struggle, with the choice being to provide their children with food or with a gift.

“The Entertainer’s Big Toy Appeal is a fantastic opportunity for local communities to join with us in helping people in need at Christmas time and to spread a little joy to children who might otherwise not receive any presents.”

The Big Toy Appeal will run from November 1 to November 16 in all 170 stores nationwide.