The TOY Project's story
This quickly grew into a small storage room in a community centre in Finsbury Park. By 2016 the TOY Project had become a pop-up shop to receive toy donations and raise money to keep the charity going, and this was such a success that it became a permanent fixture. The team even had to move to bigger premises a few doors down the road!
The project is more than a shop. They run weekly Lego workshops for both kids and grown-ups at a community centre around the corner, have opened several Toy Libraries across Islington, and rent a small warehouse to store new toys to give as Christmas and birthday presents.
Over the holidays the TOY Project have provided gifts for local children in care, and even equipment to host parties. They gave presents and a party to the children at the Grenfell Tower nursery, and provided every dad in prison at Wormwood and Pentonville with a present to give their child on a festive visiting day.
The TOY Project works closely with partners including the Pram Depot, providing baby toys to be included in baby boxes with high quality second hand clothes and equipment for new mums and their babies.
Photo by John Doyle on Unsplash
Useful learnings from The TOY Project
The TOY Project started small, and grew and grew! But that doesn’t have to be the case. If you have limited resources, be aware of your limits and stick to them to avoid overworking.
Working with local partners is a really efficient way to make the best of donations. People kindly donate items for younger children and babies which the project can pass on to the Pram Depot, who help mums, babies and new families.
Toys don’t really lose their value. They can always be played with, and often repaired instead of replaced. If a toy is in reasonable condition it can be loved again and again.