The Albanese Labor Government continues to deliver on its commitment to support Australian families and reduce cost of living pressures, by funding new and expanded toy libraries in growth corridors and for children with Autism, ADHD or developmental delays.
An additional $150,000 will be provided to Toy Libraries Australia to establish around 10 new toy libraries in areas of growth or disadvantage and to support up to 50 toy libraries to purchase evidence-based resources and toys for families and children with additional support needs, including Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Toy libraries operate in a similar way to book libraries, with a focus on early learning and development through play. They provide toy borrowing for families and are usually established within an existing early learning or community centre.
The facilities greatly reduce the need for families having to purchase large ranges of expensive toys, and help to make age-appropriate play and learning resources available to young children who may not otherwise have access to their benefits.
Parents and caregivers may pay a subscription fee to utilise a toy library, which can often be exchanged for taking up a volunteering shift with the facility.
This new funding boosts the Albanese Government’s initial investment of $700,000 and will allow Toy Libraries Australia to grow its work with local organisations in fast growing communities, often on the edge of cities or regional centres.
The growth of playgroups has also been boosted over the past 18-months, particularly intergenerational playgroups.
Since coming to government, Labor’s $12.4 million investment into playgroups and toy libraries has resulted in more than 27 new intergenerational playgroups established nationally. More broadly, the funding has enabled an increase of up to 273 new playgroups over the next three years.
New intergenerational playgroups have been established in locations nationally including:
- Ashmore, Queensland
- Wagga Wagga, NSW
- Darwin, Northern Territory
Intergenerational playgroups bring together three generations to support meaningful interpersonal connections, foster new relationships, decrease loneliness and isolation, enhance physical and mental wellbeing, and provide a greater sense of belonging. All of which have a positive effect on self-esteem, mood and memory for all generations.
Playgroups are an important part of development for young children and provide a sense of community and support for parents, parent figures and care givers.
Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, emphasised the importance of community connection and childhood enrichment through playgroups and toy libraries.
“The thousands of playgroups and toy libraries across the country provide welcoming spaces for children and their families to learn to love learning and bond through play,” Minister Rishworth said.
“Through our Government’s Helping Families Learn and Grow with Playgroups initiative we’re targeting additional investments where young families live and that is why these new grants for Toy Libraries will be focussed on growth corridors.”
“The Australian Government is committed to a better future for all Australians, and this means expanding our reach, and partnering with important organisations like Playgroup Australia, Playgroup WA and Toy Libraries Australia to establish new locations to support families with multiple and complex needs.
“At the heart of this is Australia’s children. We want them to thrive, to love to learn, and to help parents and carers have time to connect with community, and this is exactly what the Helping Families Learn and Grow with Playgroups measure continues to do.
Playgroup Australia General Manager Patricia O’Donovan welcomed the Government’s important investment in playgroups.
“Playgroup Australia has been helping children grow well for over 50 years. We are excited to continue this work for new generations of children, their families and communities and welcome additional funding provided by the Federal government,” Ms O’Donovan said.
“In addition to intergenerational playgroups, Playgroups Australia is focussed on making sure regional and remote locations have access to playgroups, designed to help in building the capacity of parents around play and care.
“This funding framework will also enhance accessibility of playgroups for children and families with multiple and complex needs, First Nations families and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.”
Toy Libraries Australia CEO Debbie Williams said toy libraries brought many benefits for communities, parents, care givers and children.
“The Australian Government’s funding has already brought new toy libraries to 11 communities across Australia, and we look forward to opening more accessible and affordable toy libraries in communities who are the most impacted by cost-of-living pressures,” Ms Williams said.
“Toy libraries are welcoming of all families and already support thousands of children with additional needs. Children with Autism, ADHD or development delay benefit from having access to a wide range of sensory, fine motor and gross motor skill toys and this funding will allow toy libraries to expand their ranges in these areas.”
You can find your closest toy library at www.toylibraries.org.au/find-a-toy-library.