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Spotlight on the Toy Library

The Toy Library is a local community service which supports local families by giving them the opportunity to borrow from a large range of good quality toys, reducing the need for families to keep buying new toys as their children grow or become bored of their own. 

As well as toys, the Toy Library has games, dressing up clothes and books, together with play sacks which contain a number of resources around a specific theme. Membership is very low cost at £10 per family per year, which entitles the family to borrow as many times as they like, for two weeks at a time.

As well as running a lending service, the Toy Library runs twice weekly ‘stay and play’ sessions where families can enjoy dedicated play time with their pre-school children. The sessions are friendly and supportive and allow parents and children to socialise and discuss early parenting issues. Children benefit by learning skills such as sharing and socialising, together with reinforcing literacy and numeracy skills. 

Stay and play sessions also include crafts, story and song time plus a healthy snack shop (drinks for parents are free). Come and say hello at sessions on Tuesdays from 9.30am to 3pm at Portway Church or on Wednesdays at Frome Library from 1pm to 3pm. Sessions cost £1 per child.

The Toy Library is run by non-profit organisation Purple Elephant Productions who also run the Children’s Festival. The organisation aims to support the local community by running free or very low cost events and projects in Frome, allowing all families to attend and enjoy activities together. They work hard to make activities accessible to low income families and those with additional needs, helping to support the local community.

Funding for the Toy Library has become much harder to secure over the past few years, with cuts to local budgets having reduced the amount of grant funding available. These same cuts have made the service so much more important to local families. 

The Toy Library has launched a sponsorship scheme to help put the service on a more sustainable footing and have set the ambitious target of reaching 100 sponsors. If you are able to give £5 a month to help keep the service going, please go to www.frome childrensfestival .org/support-us/. Any businesses that are interested in sponsoring should contact Sue Willis on sue@fromechildrensfestival .org.

Organiser Sue Willis said, “The Toy Library is a great community service which really benefits local families and is becoming more essential as other local services face increasing cuts. It would be a real shame if the service had to stop. I’m sure there are 100 people out there who could become sponsors! If not you, please suggest it to a friend or neighbour – maybe someone who has come to the Toy Library in the past. If we can reach that target we can keep the Toy Library going far into the future.”

Another way to support the Toy Library is to have them run children’s activities at your event or party. Get in touch via the website to book yourself hours of fun for the children at your event! Or go along to the Toy Library jumble sale on Tuesday 16th October from 1pm to 2.30pm at Portway Church.

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