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Toy Library in Leek to close after three decades in the Staffordshire Moorlands

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 27, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

  • Former child-minder Jackie Creber and volunteer Noreen Childs with some of the toys at the library.

  • Jackie Creber and volunteer Noreen Childs.

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A toy library is closing after 30 years – and trustees are offering to give away its stock of toys and games to community and voluntary groups.

Leek and Moorlands Community Toy Library has operated in the market town since the early 1980s, enabling parents to borrow toys and outdoor play equipment for their children.

Originally set up in the former youth centre of Mountside in Clerk Bank, the facility became a charity in 2002 and later moved to at the Kenworth Building on the site of All Saints First School, Cheadle Road, Leek.

It has held weekly sessions on Wednesday mornings, offering children a play session as well as the opportunity for parents and carers to hire toys and games.

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However, due to fewer parents hiring toys, as well volunteers to help keep the facility going, trustees have decided to close the facility.

The library offers more than 600 toys and outdoor play equipment to children aged under eight, and has 50 members.

Toy Library secretary Jo Phillips, who has been involved with the charity since 2001, said: "It is sad that it has come to this decision. It was a difficult decision for the trustees to make.

"However, toy hire has drastically reduced in the last few years and we have had less volunteers.

"With five trustees and three volunteers, we have all been involved in the toy library since our own children were tiny, but they are older now.

"We would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the years."

She added: "Some charities just come to a natural end.

"Parents now have more access to cheaper toys and so the demand for this group had dropped."

Former child-minder Jackie Creber, aged 65, of Station Road, Cheddleton, who is a trustee and volunteer with the toy library, said: "My children used the toy library when it first started, and when I worked as a child-minder I also used it quite a lot.

"It has been a very valuable resource over the years for a lot of people and will be very sadly missed."

Trustees of the Toy Library are now inviting local groups to take on the toys and games.

Jo said: "We are now inviting any Staffordshire Moorlands based community and voluntary groups who support families, parents and carers with young children, to request to be considered for donations of toys that are held in our stock as our assets."

The type of toys that the committee has available includes baby toys – nest, first toys, under 12 months; jigsaws; board games – traditional, educational, mathematical, curriculum linked; multicultural toys; dolls and push chairs; dolls houses; cars, trucks and garages; Playmobil; toys for children with additional support needs; dressing-up clothes; DVDs; story sacks; outdoor sports equipment; ride-on toys – bikes, scooters, and wheelie bugs; and inflatable outdoor play equipment.

Any group, organisation or charity wishing to be considered to receive any of the Toy Library stock can email info@leektoylibrary.org.uk by no later than Sunday, March 30, with Group Name (if a registered charity, please supply your charity number); brief details of who you support and when you open; contact name; contact details – telephone and email; and details of the type of toys that you would like.

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