Taranaki Toy Library is a community service, established to provide a wide range of toys appropriate for children at different stages in their development. The toy library has 180 member families, and members who are primary schools with children who have special needs.
“We lend the toys out to our members for a very low cost. For parents and educators, toy library membership means they do not have to invest in toys that might change as the children’s needs change,” Jana Dunnet, Coordinator, said.
Taranaki Toy Library is run by a committee of 14 volunteers and the member families themselves. The organisation employs two Coordinators, who oversee the running of the library. “It really makes a difference to have paid Coordinators. We are a point of contact for the volunteers and help to provide a better service.”
“We are one of the largest toy libraries in the country. If we were to work at 100% capacity all year, the membership fees would not quite cover wages and rent,” Jana said.
A grant of $10k from Toi Foundation assisted with the costs of running the library. “The support gives us that stability. It helps with recruitment of committee members and volunteers, and the long-term sustainability of the organisation. As we have extra money coming in, we can open up more sessions to serve a greater part of the community.”
“The funding means we have the ability to take the toy library in new directions, for example catering to children with special sensory needs.”
“We also help other toy libraries who are volunteer-run around the country. We are working with them by providing guidance and sharing our documentation. So the effects reach further than Taranaki,” Jana said.