Water fun way to raise funds

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Charity swimmers are taking the plunge to raise hundreds of pounds for Oban’s Toy Cupboard.

The playgroup that doubles up as toy lending library has missed out on fundraising due to the pandemic so supporters came up with the idea of 30 swims in 30 days throughout April to mark its 30th anniversary.

Toy cupboard chairperson Annie Anderson is one of those who committed to brave the chill to bring in much-needed money for when the registered Scottish charity reopens its doors to its 100 plus members – hopefully in May.

Annie is being joined by a team of six other mums and well-wishers, including midwife Anna Northover who previously worked in the Oban and Isles area.

Out of Covid times, The Toy Cupboard has three weekly sessions at Glencruitten Church Centre, including one in Gaelic. The sessions are open to all and bring in  children and families from all over Oban, the outlying villages and the neighbouring islands of Kerrera to Lismore, Seil and Mull.

Yearly membership to borrow toys is £3, topped up by a weekly lending fee from just 20p to a few pounds, says Annie.

Before the first lockdown, the charity had fundraised money to restock some of its toys that are as old as the group itself, but when the virus struck, its paid-staff – a toy librarian and a play leader – still had to be paid because they were not eligible for furlough.

‘We were happy to pay them but it meant we had to delve into our bank of funds! We’ve set our new fundraising goal at £500 so it can be a cushion to help us when we reopen. The sessions will have to be more heavily subsidised until we can get back to our full number of children again because of social distancing,’ said Annie.

She added: ‘It’s a really valuable service that we run but it does need a revamp. Some of our lovely toys are as old as the group and that’s 30 years, they’ve been used and used again. For us as a small playgroup, to get to 30 is quite an achievement and we’re looking forward to many more birthdays to come. We have a strong committee in place and lots of ideas for future projects.’

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