CHARITY OF THE WEEK: We take a look at the brilliant work of the Harrogate and Knaresborough Toy Library

Charities across the Harrogate district have had a tough couple of years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and we want to highlight those who need your help and support in 2022.

By Lucy Chappell
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 3:13 pm

The Harrogate and Knaresborough Toy Library was set up over 20 years ago and is a local charity offering toy borrowing services and play sessions for families in the community.

Based in Knaresborough, the ever expanding library of toys, educational resources and equipment has been carefully curated by the passionate and experienced team throughout the years.

As a member, which costs just £30 per year, you can borrow up to two items from the library at a time and swap for more toys every few weeks.

The Harrogate and Knaresborough Toy Library offers a toy borrowing service and play sessions for families

The team’s ethos is very much focussed on reducing waste and inspiring a more sustainable way of living.

Not only that, but by borrowing toys, families are keeping things interesting for their children, helping to reduce the environmental impact, saving money and helping to support a local charity.

Like many charities and community groups across the Harrogate district, the Covid-19 pandemic affected the way the organisation worked and they had to adapt their services to ensure that they could still operate and help those who needed support.

Lauren Rogerson, who runs the Harrogate and Knaresborough Toy Library alongside Rachael, said: “At the start of the global pandemic, the Toy Library had to close its doors as everyone went into lockdown.

The Harrogate and Knaresborough Toy Library offers a toy borrowing service and play sessions for families

“During the summer of 2020, a plan was formulated to offer a delivery service to members to try and help keep families entertained while being locked away together.

“The team would load up their cars and deliver to a number of families so that fresh toys could be borrowed.

“As things began to open up, a click and collect service was set up where members were able to visit the toy library to swap toys and since September 2021, things have been open as normal, offering a variety of play sessions as well as toy borrowing.”

The Harrogate and Knaresborough Toy Library offers a toy borrowing service and play sessions for families

In addition to their borrowing service, they also run a number of play sessions across the Harrogate district.

Their play sessions are fun and friendly, incorporating craft activities, messy play, role play, physical fun, stories, songs and much more.

Emily, who is a member of the Harrogate and Knaresborough Toy Library, said: “We have been using the Toy Library over the last few years and our only regret is that we didn’t use it sooner.

“The vast range of toys available to borrow is so wonderful and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the membership to anyone.

“We have loved the recent additions to the library such as board games and jigsaws for slightly older children too - we always manage to find something for both the four and eight year old age ranges.

“The Toy Library team run a great friendly service and the library is an asset to the Knaresborough community.”

The Harrogate and Knaresborough Toy Library recently appeared on Channel 4’s ‘Steph’s Packed Lunch’, featured in a segment all about the cost of living crisis as an organisation that can help families to save money.

There are a number of membership options available for families, childminders, groups and schools, starting from just £30 per year.

In addition, families that may be struggling are able to apply for a free membership and any refugee families joining the local community are also able to join for free.

Play sessions currently run on Wednesday and Friday mornings at The Old School in Knaresborough from 10am till 11.30am and are open to all.

Sessions are £3.50 plus 50p per additional child and refreshments, toilet and baby change facilities are available.

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The Harrogate and Knaresborough Toy Library is a charity and they rely on fundraising, charitable donations, income from play sessions and memberships to purchase new toys and resources.

Lauren added: “If you would like to make a donation to us we would be extremely grateful as this would allow us to continue to improve our service to our members and develop our work within the local community.”

To make a donation, head to https://www.hktl.org/donate

Are you working with or getting any support from a charity in the region that deserves some support and credit after the difficult Covid lockdowns?

We would love to hear from you by writing to [email protected]