Influx of £75,000 for toy library

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THE POPULAR Bulwell Community Toy Library is doing more than ever to support families and children aged under 13 — thanks to a funding boost of just over £75,000.

Library manager Steve Parkinson says the influx of cash, from several different sources, could not have come at a better time.

The toy library, which has been running for more than 30 years, has been awarded £10,000 a year for three years by Children In Need to continue a successful outdoor-play project in Bulwell.

The project involves the toy library running sessions for children aged five to 13 at Pulley Park on Hoewood Road — to give them a fun, safe and healthy way to play with their friends.

The sessions are manned by trained, experienced playworkers from the toy library, which runs games and activities for children at the park.

Steve says: “Without this funding, the project was facing closure, so it’s a real lifeline.

“We began the project after several children told us that they didn’t play at the park, because they, or their parents, were worried about things like ‘stranger danger’.

“Having playworkers there means that children feel safer and can also join in with games and activities when they want to, so it really encourages children to get outside and play with their friends in the fresh air.”

The toy library has also been awarded £10,000 by the Boots Charitable Trust, £6,250 by The Jones 1986 Charitable Trust and £4,000 by the Ella Kirk Charitable Foundation, all of which are based in Nottingham.

Steve says: “It’s very encouraging to receive this financial support and recognition for our work from three local trusts, and we’re very grateful to them.”

The money will help the toy library continue to provide its range of services and support for families with young children in the area.

The final cash-boost is £25,000 from a London-based charitable trust that would like to remain anonymous.

This money will fund the toy library’s Language Through Toys and Play project, which works with families one-to-one at home to encourage speech and language skills in children who are late talking, or have mild speech and language difficulties.

Families can also borrow toys, games and play equipment from the toy library for just a few pence a week.

n OUR PHOTO shows Sardia Skelton, of the toy library, with toys that were donated by the Early Learning Centre last year.