The Entertainer provided 40,000 toys and 22,000 books for kids through The Salvation Army in 2018. © Emma Hollings
The Entertainer provided 40,000 toys and 22,000 books for kids through The Salvation Army in 2018. © Emma Hollings

How a charity partnership gets toys to kids at Christmas

17 October 2019

The Entertainer's partnership with The Salvation Army shows how “business can be a force for good”.

The charity and the toy store work together to provide toys to supply Christmas toys to disadvantaged families across the UK. 

Gary Grant, founder and executive chairman at The Entertainer, told SM: “We’re 180 toyshops around the country doing something where the inspiration and the desire to do it is driven from head office and it goes down through the shops because we’ve got a supply chain to be able to handle the stuff.

“Business can be a force for good. If there’s a willingness within the company to make a difference in the local community, it is possible to achieve, it doesn’t matter on the size of the business whether it’s a single shop in one location or multiple like us.”

In 2018 the appeal collected 40,000 toys and 22,000 books.

The Entertainer sets aside 10% of annual profits for charitable activities, and part of these funds enable the company to operate its Christmas toy appeal, where customers donate toys and the company matches the amount of toys donated.

The Entertainer packages and transports the toys to The Salvation Army using internal logistics services, depending on how remote the shop location is. A close business relationship has enabled the firms to find a “logistical solution” to fit the charity’s needs.

Grant said: “We work with them and say, ‘How does this work for you?’ Then, we come up with a logistical solution that works for sorting and distribution to get the toys where they need to go. We can create a different solution depending on where the branch or warehouse is and its size.”

Andrew Roper, procurement director at The Salvation Army, told SM: “Because of the success of the first few years, certainly last year, it has grown exponentially. It helps us both financially and with the logistics, as we’d have to pay for the toys.

“We don’t have a logistics network so you need a retailer that’s got the logistics network to be able to get those toys to the right place so the people that need them get them in time for Christmas.”

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