Who are we? Community Playlink is a registered charity operating FREE Toy Libraries and supporting Toddler Groups in Southampton.

The charity’s objects (“the objects”) are:

  1. To advance the education of children and their carers, by providing or assisting in the provision of facilities and activities for individuals and group play in which parents, guardians and carers can participate when appropriate;
  2. To advance the education of parents and carers in the better care and upbringing of children;
  3. To promote the preservation and protection of the health and well-being of such children, their carers and expectant parents.

Community Playlink produces regular information to promote its services and there are planned fundraising events that staff and volunteers can take part in. We work in partnership with many other organisations to further the aims, objectives and service delivery relying on funding from grants, individuals and activities.

If you would like to view a copy of our Mission Statement please contact us here.

Who are we? - picture

Brief History: It started off in a cupboard 40 years ago and since then has given some of the most disadvantaged children in Southampton – what many other youngsters take for granted. The Toy Library Service has been providing toys to thousands of city children who otherwise wouldn’t enjoy what should be a fundamental part of childhood.

In 1974, the City Head Librarian offered an area shared with the Library at Burgess Road where we are still providing this service. In 2002, the Southampton Toy Library and the Southampton Parent and Toddler Association amalgamated to become Community Playlink Children’s Charity (CPL).

CPL also works closely with other providers for the under 14s to make sure that CPL, as a charity, enhances other provisions and encourages all aspects of family and child development through play.

Why set up a Toy Library?

There are many important benefits for families, services and the community. These can include:

 Access to play and inclusion for families that need it most:

Toy libraries are invaluable for many families particularly those living in deprived areas and affected by poverty where access to toys and play equipment may be limited. They can provide places for meeting and socialising, particularly important for families who may find themselves isolated. Parents of children with disabilities or additional needs can also access a range of specialist toys and equipment, which can help to encourage and enable less confident parents in playing and interacting with their children.

 A space for promoting and enabling parents’ involvement in their children’s learning:

Toy libraries provide opportunities to build relationships within families by encouraging one-to-one interaction and spending time playing together. Children and parents are encouraged to choose toys to take home, which can contribute to improving the Home Learning Environment, which has a proven impact on children’s learning and development.

An enhancement of learning opportunities promoted through child centred play:

Toy libraries can provide a wide selection of toys and resources which support children’s learning contributing to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and the Primary Curriculum with an emphasis on play and following children’s own interests, thinking and enthusiasm.

Routes in for parents and carers within the wider community:

Parents join toy libraries for the benefit of their children, but they also are excellent gateways to access training, advice on parenting, healthy eating, managing money and job opportunities. Toy libraries can also provide opportunities for parents, carers and grandparents to volunteer in schools and early years settings to working alongside each other and professions, improving community cohesion.