Campaigners fight on to save county toy library

CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to fight on to save a toy library service, after councillors voted to withdraw its funding.

Northamptonshire County Council approved the authority’s budget on Thursday, including proposals to cut the £50,000 it gives to the county toy library service in Northampton.

Parents and childcare workers had argued cutting the library would leave them without an essential service.

Mother-of-two Kate Parsonson, 30, from Northampton, has led the campaign against the library’s closure, and gave an impassioned three-minute speech at the meeting on Thursday aimed at persuading councillors to save it.

Speaking yesterday, she said she had been “disappointed” with their response.

She said: “I think the toy library is seen as an easy thing to cut because the children benefiting from it and using it can’t voice their objections. I think it’s a shame there are so many options the council hasn’t considered, before just deciding to cut it.”

Documents prepared for Thursday’s meeting show 7,851 toys were borrowed from the county toy library in 2010-11.

In that year users paid £12,155 in membership and hire fees, but the total cost of running the service was £62,120.

Miss Parsonson said she had identified about £35,000 of savings that could be made, including scrapping the library’s £10,000 budget to buy new toys, introducing an annual rather than one-off membership fee, and increasing hire charges.

She said campaigners would try to secure alternative funding for the service before its earmarked closure in April.