Who are we?
Bude Toy Library was set up by a group of local mums over 25 years ago and is currently run by a small team of enthusiastic volunteers. Our mission is to encourage and support generations of local children to explore and experience our wide variety of toys in ways which are all inclusive and, most of all, fun.
Our small room at Neetside Community Centre is a veritable Aladdin’s Cave for children; with plenty of toys for pretend play, a wide range of puzzles, toys to promote STEM learning, sensory and music boxes and fun fancy dress. We also have an amazing range of larger outdoor toys including roller coasters, slides, playhouses and pedal cars which are stored in our outside room.
The fact that our much-loved toys are re-used and shared many times by hundreds of children reduces waste and is hugely beneficial for the environment. The ethos of the Toy Library is to make the best use of the resources which we have, thus we regularly replace parts of a toy or carry out a repair before we finally (and reluctantly) have to retire a toy from our collection. Our environmentally friendly approach also introduces children to the concept of sharing and looking after things so that other people can use and enjoy them too.
Our members include parents, grandparents, fosterparents, carers and childminders, who pay a fee of just £20 per year to be able to borrow freely from our extensive library of toys. Bude Toy Library is a wonderful, affordable resource which we desperately want to continue to make available to all the children in our community. We also have a few local playgroups among our members who often book a selection of toys in advance for their themed sessions. We regularly join forces with local community groups and individuals to provide a play area for their fundraising events.
We found it incredibly difficult when lockdown was introduced and we were forced to close the doors to the toy library. With children off school, we were so frustrated and really disappointed that we could not fulfil our purpose when we knew we were needed the most! We have now been able to safely welcome parents and children back whilst satisfying all the government requirements, and by reducing the number of days we operate we also have a very effective quarantine system in place.
Why do we need your help?
We intentionally keep our membership fees low to enable as many people as possible to benefit from the wonderful local resource that is Bude Toy Library. Our costs are carefully planned and reasonable, with our main outgoings being rent and insurance, but membership fees alone are not enough to cover these fixed costs.
Over the course of a normal year, the bulk of our annual income comes from running a Play Area at Bude’s many summer events. We arrive bright and early at, for instance, the Castle Lawn and set up our range of outdoor toys, with some blankets and baby toys provided for our younger members. In 2019 some events were rained off, and unfortunately this year due to government restrictions the events surrounding Earth Day, Bude Carnival, Heritage Day, Lifeboat Day and the Food Festival were all cancelled. This means that we have lost out on around £1,500 of vital funds and we have had to use up our precious financial reserves.
The grim situation for us now at Bude Toy Library is that without your financial help we will have to close our doors in early 2021.
We are therefore appealing to the people of Bude, and to our friends far and wide, to help us with our Crowdfunding appeal. If we are able to raise our target of £1,500 then we will be able to continue operating for another six months or so in the hope that Bude’s Summer 2021 events will run as normal, thus enabling us to raise further funds, to replenish our reserves and to ensure our continued survival.
Please help us spread the word!
Thank you for taking the time to look at our Crowdfunding page. We really appreciate it and hope that you will be able to support us in saving this valuable resource for the community of Bude. Please do share our appeal with anyone you think may be able to help us, or who may be interested in joining us as a member or volunteer.
Karen, Jacki, Sue and Gemma - and of course the children!
Time is so precious - you've read this far - if you are curious and interested in our chat on "community involvement", " the favourite toy of all time" and "what is a good toy" please read on ..........
We are first and foremost a library for the community. We love to get involved and support others where we can by lending toys at no cost to local fundraising events by groups such as The Pantry and Corey's Crusaders.
Please see the Community section of our Facebook page.
Just recently we have had a donation of three wonderful Diversity Book Bags from the Mor Change project (you can follow them on Instagram). There are three stories to choose from, Clean Up, Look Up and Errol's Garden, they have already been borrowed several times and are just brilliant.
Over the years we have had a fantastic amount of support from the community including from Inner Wheel, Women's Institute, Cornwall Council, B&M, Bude Baggers (Morsbags) and The Preston Gate to name but a few. We know how much each generation has benefitted from the toys they have donated and the money which has been raised.
The favourite toy of all time?
Well its the roller coaster !!!!!! Indoor and outdoors, especially on a slight slope, it is fantastic fun - and has been our most popular toy for many years.
We have gone through several of them now - the coloured one, two Thomas the Tank Engines and recently, yes with a proper waiting list to loan, the Unicorn Roller Coaster. They are expensive, so we have to thank particularly the generosity of Councillor David Parsons, and the Community Chest of Cornwall Council for providing these magical toys.
In fact we were able to choose many new toys this year - which we have only recently been able to lend out due to lockdown, but they are gradually becoming known - and loved! As always we try to choose things which parents would find hard to afford or hard to store and we also look for new ideas such as the Unicorn roller coaster and the STEM coding toys.
What is a good toy ?
Bude Toy Library has a huge variety of toys for children to choose from, but “what is a good toy”?
Well, we think that a good toy is one which stimulates exploration and imagination time after time, in different ways, for as wide a variety of children at separate stages and ages as possible. Toys are essentially keys to unlock experiences and what is challenging to one child can be an opportunity to expand imagination for another, all should be accessible and inclusive at some level, which can change over a period of time.
A good toy can be one which can be physically challenging to different children, encouraging and helping their development, but may be one which is expensive or too big to store, that’s where we come in, let Bude Toy Library help!
Borrowing toys appropriate to your current needs makes superb sense, your children can have a fresh set of new and exciting toys every two weeks! It is also good for the environment as not only do we accept donated toys, but by sharing the plastic toys for years with so many children, we save money and reduce waste.
What better gift to give children than to stretch their imaginations, their experiences and capabilities safely whilst teaching that everything can have several purposes and if looked after can provide years of enjoyment for many.
Often parents do not always choose the best toys for their children! Does that surprise you? It surprised us to begin with, but we have seen time and again that children often choose toys their parents would not have picked for them, and often these are the most loved and most successful. Bude Toy Library therefore offers a great testing ground to see if a toy is well received and has a sufficiently long lifespan before purchasing it for the child.
Our precious toys - and some very happy faces!
If you have any questions email us on [email protected]