Mum calls for toy library

Published on: 03 Sep 2015

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A SOUTH Bristol mum has started a campaign to see if there’s interest in setting up a toy library for the area.

A toy library is a pooled collection of toys which can be borrowed for a few weeks.

It lets children try out toys without putting their parents to the expense of buying them – and lets them pass the toys on before they get bored with them.

Mum Annie Berry, who lives in Southville, got the idea after spending a year in New Zealand  with her children – one now 11 and one 18 months.

Not many toys would fit in the family suitcases, so Annie was soon a visitor to a toy library in New Zealand.

She said: “At first I felt sad that we would be giving the toys back. However, the more we used the library the more we realised that it is actually ideal to keep changing toys. We often chose things that we liked the look of. Sometimes this worked, but other times our baby was just not interested. Wouldn’t it be annoying if we had bought those toys! 

“Secondly there were so many satisfying moments when we borrowed a toy which perfectly suited one of our baby’s developmental needs. It was actually with an Oball grip ball that our baby was distracted enough to become a toddler and take her first steps. We would never have bought this.”

“Having been foster carers we are very aware of the need to give children the right physical, mental and spatial stimulation early on in their lives. 

“In New Zealand I kept wondering why this wasn’t a popular idea in Bristol; it is perfectly suited to the city with its baby-booming areas, innovative spirit and commitment to reusing and recycling. 

“It can also be a great way of involving parents, carers or grandparents to build their confidence by volunteering in an area they know a lot about.”

Annie has already received plenty of interest in the idea on Facebook. Now she wants to hear from people who can help make the idea a reality.

Annie is open to ideas about where it might be based – maybe a community centre or somewhere it could open perhaps two or three times a week. 

She is appealling for people with skills such as being a treasurer, working with a website or datebase, and organising and raising money. If you want to help, email southbristoylibrary@gmail.com.

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