The Great Rowledge Toy Swap is back just in time to stock up Christmas goodies for the little ones. It will run on Tuesday (November 28) from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.
Featuring pre-loved toys, the event is a community initiative towards a more sustainable and affordable Christmas. It supports Little Fishes Nursery in Rowledge, where the event will be held.
This year’s toy swap will include a raffle, and local businesses such as Little Fish in the Sticks, Hands of Rowledge, Hare & Hounds and local big brands have joined in. All the raffle proceeds go to Little Fishes Nursery.
People are encouraged to drop off their pre-loved toys at St James’s Church on Monday, November 27 (they must be ready to go to their new homes clean and in working order).
Toys can be dropped at 8.30am to 9.30am, 2.30pm to 4pm or 6pm to 8pm. In exchange for donated toys people will receive tokens to swap for “new toys” at the toy swap.
People who do not wish to recoup their tokens are to let event organisers know, and they will be anonymously passed onto a family that could use them this Christmas.
Others without tokens can pick up some treasures from 8.30pm onwards to ensure everyone is included.
Daisy Bennett, who created the toy swap, said the idea came to her during the Covid pandemic.
“We had our first child at the height of Covid, and I was particularly paranoid about anything with germs.
“I was suddenly overwhelmed by the amount of plastic toys we had collected and bought. Which is totally against my ethos and was strapping our wallets.”
After moving to Rowledge in 2021, Bennett joined the village’s toddler group, where she connected with local mums and the kids played with old toys that had been kept in the village hall for an unknown amount of time.
“When the toddler group no longer existed, we started a small Whatsapp group. There were offers of hand-me-downs, or if you needed something, then you could ask, and more often than not, someone had it surplus to requirement.”
From there, the toy swap came into existence. Bennett found that it was not only about saving money and being more eco-friendly, but it was about the people who gathered for the event and how the community came together.
“Little Fishes cleared out the whole nursery, and St James’s Church donated the church for collection and ran the bar.
“Many local mums and grandmothers gave up their time to get everything set up, and husbands popped in for a tipple or two.
“Burns & Webber have kept the bar well stocked since the beginning before we knew if it would be a success or not. I am so humbled by the fact they want to join in the community spirit and support.”
So why not get into the Christmas spirit and participate in the toy swap this year? Whether it’s to enjoy the hot mulled wine and delicious mince pies without the kids for one night or to volunteer, there is something for everyone.