Some good news in from Charlton Toy Library, the volunteer-run charity based in Charlton House, who have now reopened their lending service.
After nearly four months’ closure, the Charlton Toy Library (CTL) main premises has opened again. The popular stay-and-play sessions will not resume for the foreseeable future, but the Toy Library will be offering the toy, book and safety equipment borrowing service, twice a week (Thursdays and Saturdays). There is a wide range of books and toys for children from 0-5 years available, as well as safety and baby equipment.
Staff have been working over these last months to ensure it will be a safe service for people to use.
“It has been a challenging time for CTL, but we look forward to being of service to the community again” says Vicky Thomas, CTL Co-ordinator. “Due to generous grants from the City Bridge Trust, Greenwich Charitable Trust and the government Small Business Grants programme, the Toy Library running costs are now covered for the rest of the year and as a consequence we are able to allow all current and new members to borrow five toys and five books for free at a time. All current memberships have been extended by the four months that we were closed. Play is so important for children and the Toy Library can help all parents to keep their kids entertained with different toys, that don’t have to break the bank.”
To allow for more opportunity for people to use the borrowing service, CTL will be trialling opening on Saturday mornings in July, in addition to Thursdays. The service will be a book and collect model, where people can choose from a newly created online catalogue.
During these challenging times, we are pleased that we have been able to continue to support our outreach families with baby equipment, toys, food vouchers and phone support on a weekly basis. Sharon Jay, CTL outreach worker says: “We are so grateful to the wonderful and generous Greenwich community which has, through donations, enabled us to help so many desperate and vulnerable families.”
The first important change is that you need to book online or via the Better app – no walk-ins at the moment. I made a booking very easily via the app using my membership but know that some others have had issues; anecdotally, the centre are resolving these quite quickly. Swim sessions are 50 minutes, with 10 minutes presumably for cleaning.
Swimmers enter through the reception in the usual way and exit post-swim from one of the poolside fire exits. The indoor changing rooms are out of action, but the toilets are available, along with the poolside cubicles, showers and lockers.
Swimming is adults-only at the moment, and the pool has been divided into five lanes, each going in an anti-clockwise direction. Under government guidance butterfly and backstroke aren’t allowed (presumably these are either too splashy or they bring increased risk of contact with other swimmers). The car park is now pay-by-mobile.
From my experience the new system was working well, and I was impressed by the staffs’ efforts in explaining the new processes to swimmers as they came into the centre and again poolside. It was emphasised that the centre is going through a learning process, and the above may change over time – as may government guidance. We’re told that ‘full service’ resumes on July 25 but they are hopeful of running some outdoor fitness activities including spin classes before then. In the meantime, we advise keeping an eye on the website for the latest opening hours.