Toy library is now flourishing

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INNOVATIVE Bulwell Toy Library has launched a range of schemes in a bid to bring local parents and their children closer together.

A few years ago, the 30-year-old library, of Squires Avenue, was on the verge of closure because of funding troubles.

But since weathering the storm, it has flourished and continues to reach out to local families.

One of its latest schemes is an online literacy project to encourage youngsters to read from an early age.

‘Listen With Lorraine’ is designed to help families listen to stories together and show mums and dads how to bring stories to life.

It has been inspired by the classic BBC radio programme ‘Listen With Mother’, which ran from 1950 to 1982, but has been given a modern twist with the use of the Internet.

Steve Parkinson, project manager at the toy library, said: “Reading with youngsters has all kinds of benefits for both children and grown-ups. For example, reading is a great way to bond with your baby and develop their speech.”

The toy library is also on the lookout for local authors to provide stories for the ‘Listen With Lorraine’ website, which will be launched soon.

Another project is a series of free training sessions run by the toy library for childcare workers. These started last weekend and will continue throughout May, June and July.

They include sessions such as ‘Spinning A Yarn’ on Saturday June 30 at Bulwell Hall Park woods, which will provide nature-inspired ideas for story time. ‘Come On Light My Fire’ will be held at the same venue on Saturday July 21.

This will concentrate on allowing children to explore and activities will include cooking on an open fire and tree-climbing.

Mr Parkinson said: “The training will help childcare professionals in their day-to-day roles by giving them new and creative ideas.”

The toy library is looking to expand a mobile creche service it offers to businesses throughout Nottingham.

It also runs free play activities for children and boasts a selection of more than 3,000 toys that can be borrowed from its base for just a few pence a week.