SOUTHEND'S annual Toy Drive returns to deliver more joy to children across the town.

With Christmas fast approaching, 'council elves' are preparing to gift presents to vulnerable children who may not have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas like others.

Set up in 2013, the Toy Drive distributes gifts to children's centres, food banks, refuges, and charities.

In 2018, a whopping 1350 presents were gifted to Southend's children.

Residents can donate new toys only, vouchers for toys or days out, selection packs, pens, pencils, colouring books, and toiletry sets.

The gifts can be donated to the Civic Centre reception, on Victoria Avenue, Southend Pier, Argosy Toys, on London Road, Toys 'N' Tuck, on Queens Road, or the Forum, on Elmer Square, by December 15.

Joe Chesterton, who has been given the title of 'director of festive cheer', said: “The Toy Drive is something we as a council are very passionate about.

"Every child deserves a present at Christmas and over the years we have been able to provide just that for local, vulnerable children.

“Any donation goes a long way to putting a smile on a vulnerable child’s face, and we urge all residents to get behind this project so that we can have a hugely successful year as we aim to provide more presents than ever before, so we need your support.”