Improving outcomes for children, young people and vulnerable adults by providing therapeutic play and specialised resources

We are a registered charity established May 1981, based at Harvey Start Well Centre, Bolton, with good standing in the local community. We have a trusted track record of supporting children, young people and their families to improve their outcomes.  

Our team of staff and volunteers provide welcoming ‘drop-ins’ encouraging children (0-11 years) and their families to interact in a safe play space, modelling good practice whilst building their skills.

We loan quality, learning resources and specialised resources for families, childcare settings and practitioners across Bolton within Health, Education, Social Care, settings..

Our Multi-Sensory room offers a therapeutic calming space where children can regulate their emotions and explore their environment. We are based in a Local Authority building; we signpost and network with our partners to ensure good practice and safeguarding.

We link with CVS, Bolton Together and other agencies to improve outcomes for children, young people & families.

COVID-19 Update

In order to ensure the safety and welfare of everyone – face to face services are suspended for the time being.

We are able to exchange resources on our Building car-park (practising social distancing).

We offer deliveries of specialised resources for families to your home or setting for no charge. Please be comforted that we practice 72 hours quarantine of all resources before cleaning and re-distribution in the community.

We are looking forward to resuming our ‘Drop in’ facilities as soon as we are advised but in the meantime we are here to offer telephone and email support. Tel: 01204 395079 or email:

A Big Thanks..

We would like to say a huge thank you for the continued support we recieve to keep this vital community service running.

We would like to thank the players of The National Lottery Community Fund Awards for All - for their generous award of £10,000 to support our enhanced service for 1 year; without this we would not be able to provide this vital service.
We would like to thank the continued support of Co-operative Foundation for their generous donation of £2600 from the sale of their plastic bags. The positive impact to the vulnerable babies and children have been able to access therapeutic play and loan fibre optics, interactive bubble tubes etc..
We are delighted to be awarded for Year 2 our £10,000 grant (total grant £15K for yrs 1&2). This supports our 'maternal health project' - 'drop ins provide mums who maybe experiencing feelings of depression and isolation a friendly welcome and support. A huge thank you to CVS, Bolton for distributing this grant.
We would like to offer our sincere thanks to Bolton Council for housing us in the Harvey Start Well Centre, Bolton and their financial support for small projects for (18-19).
We would also like to the thank Bolton Transformation Fund supporting Health and Care for our grant to support Carers of children, young people and vulnerable adults with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities/additional needs
Our Health & Well-being 'drop ins' offer vital support to carers, it gives a chance for a cup of tea and friendly chat with access to information.

Our Core Services

Stay, Play & Loan Sessions

Child Minders / Nurseries / Schools

Home Visits / Delivery / Collection Service

Early Years Foundation Stage Resources

Outreach Services available

Emotional Health and Well Being Drop ins

(with access to Emotional Kits to help children 2-5 years and their families who are experiencing emotional difficulties)

Special Educational Needs & Disabilities

Multi-Sensory Area / Therapeutic Play

Volunteer Opportunities

Access to information/support

Home Elected Education Support

Home Deliveries for Home and Settings

Early Years Sensory Support

Welcoming children 0-5 years with special educational needs and disabilities/additional needs. We provide therapeutic sessions in our 'multi-sensory room' where children can interact with lights and sounds, we also loan specialised resources to help their development.

Toy Library Base

We offer ’free play’ in a welcoming environment for children, parents and carers to meet, make friendships and learn vital new skills by playing together in a stimulating safe space.

The opportunity to meet others relieves social isolation, improves their emotional well-being and strengthens community.

Our skilled team deliver a confidential service supporting children’s learning using quality resources that are in-line with the Early Years Foundation Stage.

We offer a tailor-made service to children with special educational needs and disabilities of specialised resources such as fibre optic lights, sensory kits along with sound memory busy boxes etc.

Opening Times


8.30am - 5.30pm – (Appointments only)


8.30am - 4.30pm (all day 'Drop ins')


8.30am - 4.30pm (all day 'Drop ins')


9.00am – 1.00pm (Emotional Health and Well Being Drop in)

1.00pm – 4.00pm - (Appointments Only / Outreach sessions in Community Venues - contact for more details)



If you wish to visit when it's quieter to access advice and help please ring for an available appointment or email us

How to find us

Our Address:

Bolton Toy Library

Based at Harvey Start Well Centre

Shaw Street



About Us

Bolton Toy Library is a registered charity established in 1981, providing therapeutic play opportunities across the borough.

"Our ethos is to improve outcomes for children, young people and vulnerable adults by providing therapeutic play and specialised resources improving their life’s chances."

At our base we provide stimulating free play through ‘drop ins’, play & loan sessions, ‘1:1 sessions’ for parents, grand-parents, and foster carers.

Our skilled staff and volunteers offer a warm welcome; come along to one of our sessions, 'drop in', 'play & loan' and '1:1 sessions' available for families and professionals

we have a wide range of play, specialised, learning resources to meet your developments. All resources are available for loan (average 60p per week). A home delivery service is available for a small charge.

We run a range of activities including seasonal / themed events and a fundraising programme. A range of volunteer opportunities are available.

Childminders, Childcare providers, Nurseries and schools can loan specalist educational needs and disability resources, which can be delivered by our outreach team.

Group visits of children are available by appointment.

Our quality resources meet with Early Years Foundation Stage and have been acknowledged in Ofsted Reports as improving enhanced provision and learning outcomes.

Our Past Funded Projects

PlayLink Project

Reaching Communities

(April 2012 - April 2015)

This project provides a 20 hour service both at the Base and outreach.

The opportunity for parents to play with their child in a non-threatening environment enables children and parents to improve their social and emotional well-being.

We support 180 parents/carers to improve the home learning environment.

We have recently accessed a Parenting Trainer to deliver free Workshops.

During the year parents were involved in seasonal events fund-raising.

100 children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities have been supported through the loan of specialised resources and play sessions.

1500 Beneficiaires

Children’s Centres Outreach Project

Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council

We provide outreach ‘play & loan’ sessions in 3 Children’s Centres - Alexandra, Crompton and Orchards.

Families benefit from free resources along with skilled staff supporting their learning.

Childcare Providers, Foster Carers and families’ access free play sessions.

Case Study

A lone parent of a child with autism stated

"..the loan of the weighted blanket has been given me the best night’s sleep in seven years"

We take referrals from Health / Education / Social Care and Disability Team

We are the only provider of quality specialised resources in Bolton.

Playdays Project

BBC Children in Need

(June 2013 - September 2015)

The focus of this project is to improve the life’s chances of 200 disadvantaged children under 4 years of age by providing play opportunities to learn vital skills.

This grant provides 7 hours of therapeutic play and loan at the Toy Library base and through the outreach/home delivery service.

Case Study

new Foster Carer of a child with complex disabilities age 2½ years, having no appropriate equipment to support his physical needs.

Foster Team/Disability Officer referred to our service.

With this funding we purchased a soft foam multi activity ring that was ideal for him to join in and play with other children.

"…I can’t believe what a difference this has made, he has started to be hold his head up and they never thought he would achieve this"

Also a Big Thanks To: