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Toy library helps parents save the pennies

Date: 24/10/2008           Category: Childrens Care

A children’s centre in Chatham has come up with a novel way of helping families reign in their expenses, especially this Christmas, when everyone is feeling the pinch. Rather than forking out on expensive toys that may only be played with once before being forgotten about, parents, carers and childminders can hire a variety of toys from as little as 50p a fortnight. The All Saint’s Children’s Centre in Magpie Hall Road has a wide range of fantastic toys, ranging from babies’ toys, dressing-up outfits, sensory toys, construction, games and puzzles on offer at the family-friendly toy library. Mum-of-three Jodie Lynch thinks the library is a great way for her children to play with different types of toys before buying them their own versions. She said: “They have everything here; the range is unbelievable, it was like all the birthdays and Christmases rolled into one. “My daughter, Lily, loved looking at the large dolls’ house and castle. She would really like one for Christmas, so this gives her the chance to borrow one, play with it at home and see if she likes it before we commit to buying her a dolls’ house of her own. “There is also a huge dressing up box with lots of different costumes from around the world and uniforms including firemen and policemen.” In between playing with the building bricks Lily, 3, added: “I like playing with the dolls and dressing up.” Michelle Walsh, whose two-year-old daughter Miah enjoyed playing with the drums and doctor’s kit when she visited the centre, was also impressed with just how easy it is to borrow different types of toys. She said: “Buying toys is so expensive these days. I know people whose children have hundreds of toys and rarely play with them, which is such a waste of money. The library gives Miah a chance to play with different types of toys and it also means that there are fewer piles of toys that are not being played with cluttering up our home. “I’ve been really surprised by the types of toys Miah’s been playing with at the library. She’s really enjoyed using the hammer and drills and wearing the stethoscope from the doctor’s kit, which I would never have known if we had been browsing in a toy shop.” Playlink Co-ordinator Eileen Braham wants to encourage more people to join the library. She said: “I want to show people that by borrowing toys they won’t be spending out lots of money on expensive toys and this way children get to explore lots of different toys as well. “Christmas can be a very expensive time of year, so why not cut the costs and borrow toys or see it as a 'try before you buy'.” Membership costs from £10. The library is open at the following times: Monday 12.30pm to 1.30pm for parents and carers with children aged birth to five. Tuesday 1pm to 2pm for parents and carers with children under one. Wednesday 9.30am to 10.30am for parents and carers with children birth to five. Thursday 1pm to 2pm for parents and carers with children aged one to two. Friday 9.30am to 10.30am for parents and carers with children aged birth to five. For more information about the toy library, please contact Eileen Braham or Jo Bunn at the centre on 01634 338833.