Children’s Links is a national children, young peoples’ and community services charity. Our services include those that support babies, children, young people, their parents and carers, the communities they live in and other children and young people’s organisations.
As part of our services, we run a Toy Library in Lincoln, this is a brilliant affordable resource in the heart of Lincoln that provides a fun and safe space for families to visit, play and create together. We also deliver bespoke outreach sessions. We pride ourselves on providing a supportive environment to the families that visit our setting, which sets us apart from other play centres.
Services at the Toy Library for our local communities include:
- Affordable toy hire
- Early Years play centre
- Special Needs Sensory Space
- Specialised support groups
- Room hire
- Contact centre
- Signposting to other services
- Support to external services, both third sector and commercial
- Pre-loved sales to help families gain access to affordable toys & books
One of our most recent projects within the Toy Library has been in partnership with Darkside Rising CIC, a local lady’s gym which focuses on confidence building. Together we have created ‘Mums Fit’ – a post-natal, low-impact exercising and peer support group. The sessions are supported by a Specialist Post-Natal Coach as well an Early Years support worker. Participating Mums are invited to bring their babies, as we recognised that parenthood can be a barrier to exercise, particularly in the first year of a child’s life. Mums are able to feed and care for their child, with the support of an Early Years worker, whilst undertaking a bespoke course in exercise which aims to repair damage caused by childbirth.
The first 3 cohorts of Mums Fit were funded by ‘This Girl Can’, with a focus on getting Mums back into exercise. Many of the participants from the first 3 cohorts have continued on their journey and have subsequently joined a gym.
We are pleased to have successfully secured funds through ‘Shine Managed Care Network’ to deliver the project to a further 3 groups, this time with a specific focus on mental health support as being a new Mum can be isolating and often leads to mental health such as depression. Members of the current cohort have formed friendships and are exploring groups outside of the Toy Library so that they can meet at other times of the week also, this is a significant achievement.
We very much hope to find ways to continue to fund similar projects going forward and support more mothers in the future.
Why did you choose to sign up to the charter?
As a Charity working within Lincoln, it was important to us to support the Charter and engage with other local businesses.
Have you noticed any positive changes since undertaking a range of socially responsible activities?
Children’s Links’ ethos is about child, family and community support and will always strive to provide socially responsible activities. Mum’s Fit has helped to fill a need in our community by supporting new Mums and providing health and social wellbeing support. This has increased their own participation in wider community activities and has brought a new cohort of parents in to our Toy Library where we can continue to support their needs as their children grow and develop.
Do you have any words for a business looking to sign up to the charter?
It is a valuable platform for sharing information about your services and linking with other organisations who hold similar values.