We are so excited to be recognised among Glen Eira’s wonderful community groups, being recently nominated for Community Group of the Year. Thank you to all our members and volunteers! 🏆😀
Why is this community group worthy of being Glen Eira’s Community Group of the Year?
Run by volunteers, the Carnegie Toy Library has been making a huge difference to children’s lives for over 30 years. 2019 was one of the toy library’s most challenging and yet successful years, with the management committee working hard over hundreds of hours to introduce new families to the benefits of toy libraries and grow the membership base to record numbers. We have significantly built and replenished the toy collection using grants and other fundraisers, and also worked constantly to engage with community members and other stakeholders to secure the toy library’s future success.
Please provide some background information on the work and/or service that the community group provides to the Glen Eira community, including the number of Glen Eira residents that benefit from the service:
The Carnegie Toy Library (previously known as Caulfield Community Toy Library) is a not-for-profit organisation that stocks more than 2,500 toys to help children learn through play, including toys for children with special needs. Along with many other valuable dexterities, toys help kids develop fine motor skills and think creatively. The more children play with toys, the more equipped they become for progression to other stages of their lives. We stock high-quality toys to enrich children’s play and skill development, as well as strengthening families through a supportive community network. As part of our mission to enrich the lives of all local children, we also applied for and received a grant last year to broaden our toy collection offering specifically for children with learning difficulties. The committee has worked hard to promote the CTL through 2019, with the result that membership is now at an all time high of more than 340 families – with hundreds of children throughout Glen Eira benefiting from the toys in our collection.
How many Glen Eira residents have benefited from this service?
Thousands of families have benefited from the toy library over its 33-year history. We currently have over 340 families as members, with their children enjoying the fun and skills development that comes with high-quality toys.
What community need and/or priority has the community group met for Glen Eira residents?
The Carnegie Toy Library supports families by providing access to a wide range of toys for young children (0 to 6). Recognising that high numbers of Glen Eira residents live in apartments, units or other small homes, the toy library allows parents to save space by borrowing toys (including large toys such as scooters and ride-ons). The toy library also brings environmental benefits – with families borrowing instead of buying toys for their children, we are reducing waste and teaching children about sustainability. The toy library helps strengthen families by linking parents together in a supportive network, and encouraging parents to engage in creative play with their children through great toys and play ideas (circulated through our email, social media and other engagement measures).
Is there any other information that you would like to add to support this application? (For example, specific contributions, services, or activities, etc.)
While much hard work by a formidable committee of mothers has helped keep the toy library strong, this year has presented some fresh challenges. The release of the draft Koornang Park masterplan surprised us with its proposed removal of our library building, forcing the committee to actively engage with Council and the community to lobby to keep our home. While this experience was somewhat daunting, it came to a positive conclusion with the toy library ultimately strengthening its relationship with Council.
The committee has also acted to address years of confusion that stemmed from the name ‘Caulfield Community Toy Library’, launching a major rebrand that recognised our strong links to Carnegie and the more appropriate name ‘Carnegie Toy Library’. We engaged communication design students from Monash University (Caulfield campus) who developed our new look. The final logo with its interlocking construction parts reflects the community ethos of the toy library. The project afforded local students a real-world opportunity to include in their portfolios, and illustrates how the toy library committee strives to develop and strengthen ties with the local community.