Helen Crockford from Walthamstow Toy Library is celebrating its 40th birthday
This is an exciting year for Walthamstow Toy Library, as we celebrate our 40th anniversary – a significant achievement for a local parent- and carer-run charity that receives no central funding.
This milestone is the ideal opportunity for us to reflect on our history and our place in the local community, and reconnect with all those who have made the Toy Library a special place.
The Walthamstow Toy Library is an educational charity providing babies and pre-school children with a vibrant range of activities in a stimulating environment. We believe in the power of learning through play. Playing nurtures young children’s imagination and inventiveness and is vital to their emotional, social and physical development; essential to a happy childhood and stress-free parenting (almost!).
The Toy Library has been, and continues to be, a haven for young families in the borough; as children play, among the grown-ups, much tea, biscuits and sympathy is shared and friendships are formed. The exhilarating, yet often exhausting, pre-school years do not last long, and as consequence members are only involved in the Toy Library for a brief period of their lives.
We work with pre-school educational groups to run exciting workshops designed to get your children trying something new such as making music, cooking, baby signing, or messy play.
Apart from offering play sessions and companionship – as our name suggests – we loan out a variety of toys and equipment at reasonable rates. Member families can hire our lovely purpose-built venue for special events such as children’s birthday parties.
In recent years our membership has reached record levels and the Toy Library has flourished, becoming a hub for local families and welcoming newcomers to our borough.
To remain relevant and useful to the community around us, the Toy Library adapts and responds to the needs of local parents and children. We now partner with the Waltham Forest Branch of National Childbirth Trust (NCT), introducing families to the Toy Library from the very earliest days of parenthood. Our venue also hosts a range of yoga classes.
Our latest venture is running a twins and multiple births group for which we have joined forces with the charity TAMBA (Twins and Multiple Births Association). In the last year the Toy Library’s outdoor spaces have been enhanced with new toys and planting.
We want to explore the Toy Library’s history, as a part of local community life and as an account of early childhood over the last 40 years – from Lego and playschool to heuristic play and the Teletubbies, we have experienced it all.
The trustees of Walthamstow Toy Library are creating an exciting programme of events for 2015. Our annual May Fair will be the focal point of this celebration; where we will be launching our ‘Friends of ’ scheme. We are also planning a children’s birthday party at The Blitz Factory in September and a Ceilidh in October (just for the grown-ups!) to celebrate.
We would be delighted to hear from past members, committee, donors and especially former staff and volunteers. We encourage ‘alumni’ to get in touch via the details below and share your memories, photographs and mementos of the Toy Library with us. We look forward to welcoming our members past and present throughout 2015 and beyond.
Joining the Toy Library is easy: just bring your children along to one of our popular sessions, run by experienced play workers and dedicated volunteers. Membership is £5 per year for each family, and free for those who receive benefits.
For more information:
Address Comely Bank Community Clinic, 46 Ravenswood Road, London E17 9LY
Call 020 8509 3401