Blenheim Corps recently built two new sheds which were placed in an unfilled space in the courtyard near their corps building, to store toys for the toy library.
Captains Jacob and Emma Howan, corp officers at Blenheim Corp, saw it was an issue that the toys were stored in different places: in their social hall, the garage and other people’s garages. This meant it was getting hard to track where a particular toy was located and what toys they had.
The funds for the sheds came from a former member of their corps, a woman who passed away and left money to Blenheim Corps in her Will. She lived in one of their Salvation Army Social Housing units and was a long-term volunteer in the toy library, often helping clean the toys. Jacob and Emma wanted to use some of the funds to honour the life she lived and the blessing she was to their corps.
‘We said to each other, she was such a supporter of the toy library while she was alive. Perhaps this would be a good way to honour her and not just hold on to it [the money] until a big building project comes along,’ Jacob said.
The sheds were garden sheds purchased as kitsets from Mitre 10. They chose sheds because they were an affordable option, and they could build them close to the toy library, making it easier for volunteers to access the toys.
To put the sheds together, they held a working bee. Six men from their corps, some of who were builders, came to build the sheds, even making it a race to see who would build theirs first.
The toy library is an important part of the mission of Blenheim Corps. It’s been operating for 43 years, and is a way for families to come and borrow a toy for their children, instead of having to go out buy a new toy themselves.
The sheds have given the toy library volunteers time to sort through the toys they have, to find out if they’re in good condition or not. It’s also given volunteers more space to connect with the families who come in.
Jacob mentioned, ‘it’s only a couple of garden sheds, but I think it’s going to make quite a difference to what the team are able to do there’.