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Published:Thursday 28 August 2003

The number of Rutland Toy Library members is now approaching 250 and organisers are waiting to see who will be its 250th member.

Last August, South Luffenham Parent and Toddler Group was awarded a play tunnel prize when it became the toy library’s 100th member. The 250th member will also receive up to £30 worth of toys.

Karen Eyres from Rutland’s Early Year’s Department, said: “We are delighted by the popularity and success of the Mobile Toy Library, as toys play a vital part in early years education. The toy library is an excellent facility for families and groups throughout the county to access a whole range of toys that they would not necessarily have been able to otherwise and around 70 percent of the members use it regularly.”

The Mobile Toy Library catalogue and information on the delivery days and zones are available on the mobile toy library, in schools, pre-schools and libraries throughout the county enabling people to pre-book the toys and equipment they require. Members pay a registration fee of just £2 per term or £5 per year and can borrow toys for a whole month. No other fee is charged for borrowing toys.

The Rutland Toy Library Delivery Schedule splits the county into six zones. Each zone will receive two deliveries every month on either Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Deliveries are made to zones one, two and three on the first and third week of every month. The mobile toy library will then deliver to zones four five and six in the second and fourth week of the month.

The toy library is run through a public / voluntary partnership. Millennium Volunteers, through Student Force, clean the toys and prepare the deliveries for distribution by the toy library driver. To order toys or for more information on delivery days, residents can contact Rutland County Council’s Early Years Team on (01572) 758 490.

Toy Library organisers, The Rutland Early Years Development Child care Partnership (EYDCP), was awarded a grant from the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) to establish the facility.

EYDCP is a body of people who represent many aspects of childcare and education and is serviced by Rutland County Council’s Early Years Team. Members of the partnership include representatives from health, parents, education, councillors, pre-school and play groups and childminders. The aim of the EYCDP is to ensure a high quality, affordable and accessible service to the children of Rutland and their families.

The colourful Ford Transit Van, sponsored by Colin Easson of Cottesmore, is bursting with toys, games and musical instruments to cater for every stage of the child’s development, both educationally and socially up to the age of 14, including toys for children with additional needs. The Toy Library aims to support groups or individuals with varied types of equipment they would not necessarily have the funding to access.

The static special needs library continues to operate from the Rutland Rotaract Family Support Centre based at The Parks School, Oakham. This dedicated special needs unit also accesses toys and equipment to broaden the facilities it offers.

Zone 1 – Oakham West, Barleythorpe, Langham, Whissendine, Ashwell, Teigh, Market Overton, Thisleton, Barrow.

Zone 2 – Oakham East, Burley, Exton, Burley on the Hill, Cottesmore, Greetham, Stretton, Clipsham, Whitwell.

Zone 3 – Empingham, Casterton, Tickencote, Great Casterton, Little Casterton, Ryhall, Essendine.

Zone 4 – Oakham West, Braunston, Riddlington, Manton, Lyndon, Uppingham North, Belton, Ayston.

Zone 5 - Oakham East, Egleton, Hambleton, North Luffenham, Edith Weston, Ketton Wing, South Luffenham, Morcott.

Zone 6 – Uppingham South, Brisbrooke, Seaton, Lyddington, Stoke Dry, Caldicott.
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start: Thursday 28 August 2003