The TOY Project

The TOY Project re-uses toys in different ways and across different projects so they end up in children's hands instead of landfill.

The TOY Project's story

The TOY Project was founded in 2013 by Jane and Angela. It started as a part-time operation in Jane's living room. Jane began collecting unwanted toys to help bridge the disparity in school resources and how many toys local children had to play with. Meanwhile, Angela wanted to help bereaved children through supporting play therapists with toys to use in their sessions.

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.

The TOY Project's metrics

  • Money raised, toys donated, workshops organised.

Read more: https://thetoyproject.co.uk/

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