Toys are of great benefit to the development and socialisation of any growing child but every parent knows how expensive it can be to provide new toys for their children.
For many parents living in the Canterbury area, it is a financial burden to be constantly replacing toys as their children quickly outgrow or tire of them.
Recognising this need in their community, Good Beginnings Australia together with Hampden Park Public School, started up the Lakemba Community Toy Library in 2011. Located in a shipping container on site at the school, the toy library is open every Wednesday from 9am to 1pm and every fourth Saturday during school terms.
“In this [Canterbury] area, where rental prices are going up faster than incomes, and where people have limited space and money for toys, it is essential that a service like ours is here for families with young children,” said Jeff Wilkin, Coordinator of Good Beginnings Australia.
For a small joining fee, parents can borrow toys such as educational board games, ride-on vehicles, musical toys, construction toys, puzzles, baby toys and so on.
“We have toys for children aged 0-5 years old and they are perfect for occupying their time while having fun, and learning and developing new skills. Families with many young children or children with a disability or development challenges are particularly pleased as it allows them to significantly reduce parenting costs,” said Mr Wilkin.
The Lakemba Community Toy Library is reliant on donations and community funding to maintain costs and purchase new toys. This year Canterbury League Club has donated $15,000 through their ClubGrants program.
“With thanks to the funding from the Canterbury League Club, we have been able to greatly improve our stock of toys and build some suitable display and storage shelves. Most importantly, it allowed us to employ an experienced Toy Librarian who runs the service and assists families in making informed toy choices appropriate for their child’s development needs,” said Mr Wilkin.