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Toy and leisure libraries

10 March 2016

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Toy and leisure libraries are a great way to share resources and help with the learning and development of children. They not only help parents to save money, they can also reduce waste, which is good for the environment. 

Toy libraries 

Toy libraries allow parents to donate and borrow toys in their local community. These schemes are run by volunteers and professionals such as nursery and school teachers, social workers, health workers and others. The following is a list of toy libraries, which operate in towns and villages across Essex:


Toy library is held at: St James Church Centre, Victoria Place, Brightingsea.
Contact: Mrs Shirley Raines (Church Centre).
Tel: 01206 302 378

Canvey Island

Toy library is held at: Canvey Community Children's Centre, Furtherwick Park School, Furtherwick Road, Canvey Island, SS8 7AZ.
Contact: Mrs Rosemary Harris, Canvey Island Toy Library
Tel: 01268 690 806


Lee's Room, Unit D3, Cowdray Centre, Cowdray Avenue, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1BW.
Contact: Mrs Pam Cook, Colchester Toy Library
Tel: 01206 500 211

Toy library is held at: Willow Brook Primary School, Barnardiston Road, St Annes, Colchester, CO4 0DT. All Aboard Toy Library.
Tel: 01206 865 555

East Hanningfield

East Hanningfield Village Hall, The Chase, East Hanningfield, CM3 8AE Contact: Miss Fiona Ward, Hanna's Tots Toy Library, Tel: 01245 400965

Great Dunmow

Dourdan Pavilion, Recreation Ground, Great Dunmow.
Contact: Sarah Dalton
Tel: 01279 874 804


Kingsmoor House Family Centre, Paringdon Road, Harlow.
Contact: Melanie Powers Harlow Toy Library
 Tel: 01279 446 118

Saffron Walden

Teddies Toy Library, New Life Pentecostal Church, Shire Hill, Saffron Walden, CB11 3AQ.
Contact: Mrs J Tobitt
Tel: 01799 521 780


Chelmsford Special Needs, 21 Melba Court, Writtle, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 3EW
Contact: Sue Newman,

Leisure libraries 

Leisure libraries are similar to toy libraries. However, they are specifically aimed at people with special needs. Often run by parents, they operate a loan system for specialist leisure equipment, as well as providing information and advice for carers, together with organised social activities.
For more information on leisure libraries, visit the National Children's Bureau.