Devon mum realizes her dream of opening a new community toy store

A Devon mum is set to open a brand new toy store with a difference after receiving tremendous support from the community.

On Thursday February 25, Beth Steele will launch No Toy Left Behind, a community shop at the Pippins Community Center in Axminster which will sell second-hand and lovingly restored toys and books.

Launched by a successful crowdfunding campaign, the non-profit environmental initiative aims to reduce waste by saving toys from landfill and encouraging the local community to buy second-hand.

Read more: Storm Eunice: Environment Agency in North Devon as sandbags kicked out due to risk of flooding

After securing a place at Dartington’s School for Social Entrepreneurs and the support she received from the community, Beth is happy to finally see her vision come true.

“After spending several months painstakingly cleaning and refurbishing over 20 wheelie bins containing donated toys, we are thrilled to finally open our store to the community,” she said.

Beth Steele with her daughter Pip, 7, outside the community center where their new Axminster toy store will soon open.

Beth said the store has received overwhelming support from locals and will be run entirely by volunteers who sort, clean and restore donations.

“So some things are broken and need to be recycled,” she said. “And so part of what we’re hoping to do by raising funds through the store is to be able to pay to send things in for recycling through the TerraCycle program.

“No Toy Left Behind aims to help the planet by reducing waste and manufacturing demand. We hope to demonstrate that we don’t need to buy new and get our community thinking about the environmental impact of their product choices. ‘purchase.”

Donations are pouring in for the new No Toy Left Behind store

Beth, who has three young children, said: “My kids like to rummage through charity shops and flea markets and garage sales and the like, but it’s not quite the same as a pretty store. shiny toys.

“So I thought, ‘maybe this is something we can create’ – for my kids but also for all the kids in the community.

“What we hope is that we will appeal to people who are really concerned about their environmental impact and who want to buy something second-hand for their children or their grandchildren.

“And you can do that outside of eBay or Facebook Market Place, but it’s going to be a nice place for you to go in and choose – a project that you can support and that’s very environmentally conscious.”

Beth said she also hopes No Toy Left Behind will appeal to families where money is tight.

At Christmas, Beth worked with Axminster Foodbank to provide tokens for the shop so families could redeem them for Christmas gifts for their children.

Once officially open, the store will sell these tokens and provide them again through the food bank.

“Some people will have received food bank tokens, and some people will have bought them, and we won’t know who is who,” Beth said.

She hopes this will reduce any possible stigma for families in need while giving children the chance to choose something they would really like.

Inside No Toy Left Behind at Christmas

Beth added: “Thank you from me to everyone who volunteered and everyone who stepped up to donate to us.

“Because otherwise, without these people, it would just be my idea scribbled in a notebook that would never have become anything.”

The No Toy Left Behind launch event runs from 1-4 p.m. on Thursday, February 25, with the official grand opening at 1:15 p.m.

Additionally, there will be a story hour with local children’s environmental author Emily Hobson-Martin, a screening of the short environmental animation The Story of Stuff, a fun recycling art project and an update by Catherine Causley, East Devon District Council Climate Change Officer, on Net-Zero Devon.

No Toy Left Behind will open at the Pippins Community Center in Axminster, from 1-4pm, every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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