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.

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


Baby Group (0 - 2 years)
'Drop In' (10am - 11am) @ Bolton Toy Library

Stay, Play & Learn (0 - 5 years)
(10am - 11am) @ Farnworth Start Well Centre, King Street, BL4 7AP

S.E.N.D Drop In (0 - 5 years)
(1pm - 2pm) @ Bolton Toy Library

Stay, Play & Learn (0 - 5 years)
(1pm - 2pm) @ Alexandra Start Well Centre, Blackledge Street, BL3 4BQ


Stay, Play & Learn (0 - 5 years)
(10am - 11am) @ Harvey Start Well Centre, Family Hub

Emotional Health Stay & Play (0 - 5 years)
(1pm - 2pm) @ Bolton Toy Library

Stay, Play & Learn (0 - 5 years)
(1pm - 2pm) @ Great Lever Start Well Centre, Leonard Street, BL3 3AP


'Drop In' (0 - 5 years)
(9.30am - 11am) @ Bolton Toy Library

Stay, Play & Learn (0 - 5 years)
(1pm - 2pm) @ Harvey Start Well Centre, Family Hub

Stay, Play & Learn (0 - 5 years)
(1pm - 2pm) @ Tonge Start Well Centre, Starkie Road, BL2 2ED


Stay, Play & Learn (0 - 5 years)
(1pm - 2pm) @ Oldhams Start Well Centre, Forfar St, Bolton BL1 6RN



One-to-one appointments are available between 9am-5pm Monday-Wednesday
Please contact us to book these.

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 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 Projects

We are grateful for our current funders who enable us to support disadvantaged young children and their families across Bolton. Our dedicated Team of Trustees, Staff and Volunteers provide the following projects:


National Lotteries Community Fund (Aug 19 - Jul 22) (0-5 years)

This project supports children and their families with special educational needs, disabilities (SEND), additional needs and those going through a diagnosis.

  • We provide welcoming ‘Drop ins’ where Parents/Carers and their children can meet others, play and build on their development skills. We loan specialised resources in the home and setting. Feedback from our families’ states ‘this is a life-line for our family, playing with adapted toys helps our child develop and have fun’
  • 1:1 sessions for those children who need a quieter session to explore a safe play space where staff/volunteers can tailor their specialised/sensory resources to meet their individual needs.
  • Children can visit our Multi-Sensory Room for therapeutic play; enjoy the calming space and explore sensory lights and sounds helping them to relax, reducing their anxiety.


My Bolton Comm’UNITY’ funded by Bolton Council (Oct 19 - Mar 21)

This project provides targeted support to diverse young children (0-3 years) and their families in the local community. It enables the integration of Refugee and Asylum Seeker families into the community with existing Host groups. We provide themed play sessions modelling positive behaviour, promoting the understanding of other cultures, faiths, beliefs improving tolerance and strengthening the community.


Project Funded by Bolton NHS Foundation Trust with Lead Partner Bolton Together (1st Feb 21 - 30th Jun 22)

This project supports the Emotional Health and Well Being of young children (2-5) years. Our delivery is through a 3-strand approach:

  • We offer families guidance and signpost on to other agencies if additional help is needed
  • Our welcoming EHWB ‘Drop ins’ will provide interactive play along with support
  • We provide ‘Emotional Well Being Kits’ free to young children to support their resilience as they go through transitions i.e., family separation, bereavement, bullying, starting school etc. We offer a doorstep delivery service for families who need it.

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