Wellington Toy Library is one of the town’s ‘hidden gems’. Run entirely by volunteers, it provides parents, childminders and playgroups with access to an Aladdin’s Cave full of toys, most of them bought new, for a membership fee of just £3 per year – or £10 for four years! Childminders and playgroups pay £5 per year. The charge allows lenders to borrow 5 items per month for 50p each; groups can borrow 10 toys for £1 per toy and lending can be extended to half a term.
At present the Toy Library in the Quaker Meeting House (behind One Stop Shop on the High Street) is open every Monday from 10am to 12 am and for one Saturday a month but, as organiser Bridget Hodges explained, “We would like to open on two Saturdays if we could attract more volunteers. We need people who can be here for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning perhaps just once a month. We could also make use of more help on Mondays too.”
Bridget paid tribute to the generosity and support of the Quakers who provide the library not only with storage space but also with access to its Meeting House, its garden and courtyard for toddlers to play. One regular borrower, Amanda Vrona, said, “It’s more than just a library; I meet other mums here for a chat and the children can play in the hall and the garden when it’s fine. It’s great to have this library right in the town centre, and it’s not costly to borrow toys.”
The library is funded by donations, lending charges and the support of several organisations – Waitrose, The Co-op, Shell UK – and many individual other supporters.
With Christmas ahead, many parents with young children are trying to budget for presents. Membership of the Toy Library offers children the sense of having new toys without the cost – surely good news for parents.