Local kids will be provided with more opportunity to play after the Bundaberg Toy Library received $13,000 in funding from the Bundaberg Regional Council’s Partnerships and Sponsorships Program.
Bundaberg Disability Resource Centre and Toy Library, now run by YMCA of Bundaberg, was established in 1986. by local parents.
The toy library provides access to specialised equipment and developmentally appropriate toys for children with special needs.
The recent funding will be used to purchase new and replacement resources, as well as support the ongoing operational costs of the organisation.
Melissa Avery, Co-ordinator at the Bundaberg Disability Resources Centre and Toy Library, said puzzles and ride-on toys would be purchased for the Toy Library collection.
She said the puzzle and ride-on toys are popular with borrowers, with the current toys in the collection showing signs wear and tear.
“Without the fantastic support of Council, our collection of toys would not be so good,” Melissa said.
“Some were very old and had to go.
“We want to be able to provide quality toys and resources to families, so we aim to purchase high quality toys with high play value.”
Particularly popular in the ride-on collection is the John Deere tractor, the rollercoaster and the micro-scooter.
The Toy Library’s first micro-scooter was donated by Mercury Fire Protection and is now top of the new equipment list.
“We plan to buy two more micro-scooters, as they are adjustable and durable and the kids love them!” Melissa said.
The organisation now provides three types of membership including disability, community and organisational, reflecting the need for all children to access toys that suit their age, educational development and play needs.
Education Advisor Vivien Pitt said the toy library had seen an increase in membership and number of items borrowed in recent years, as families had come to appreciate the ability to borrow toys rather than needing to buy.
“We’ve seen a real growth in members in the three to six month age range, with 2022 funding focussed on building the Early Years collection,” Vivien said.
“Council is wonderful to support us like they do, enabling us to increase our resourcing for community families.”
Resources purchased with Council funding are available for all members to borrow, with prioritisation given to community members.
Toy Library member Naomi Heckathorn is a regular borrower and said the advice from the staff is as valuable as the resources on offer.
“The library is amazing and the staff particularly are fantastic at helping our kids grow,” she said.
“If I say, ‘oh, I really want to help my kids with language skills or fine motor skills', the ladies will show me a great activity for that and tell me what to focus on or how to use it.
“They're really good at what they do and they're really knowledgeable.”
The toy library is supported by volunteers who assist the staff to check-in resources, clean and reshelve for the next borrower, and to repair broken items.
Local businesses and individuals have donated resources, with individuals also able to donate if the item is Toy Library appropriate.
The Toy Library’s Play More Indoor and Outdoor program runs from 11 April – 25 July.
Find out more about the Bundaberg Toy Library here.
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