Our History

1968 Whilst serving as a Red cross Officer and reading an article in a national newspaper, Mrs MKM Vogwell realised the needs of handicapped families for support. During June, the Wirral Toy Library was formed in her own home with a few friends using their own money and transport.

A committee was formed in July and we moved into Gautby Road School – burnt out within one month. We moved into Red Cross Headquarters, Birkenhead for one day a week but were unable to get financial support from Red Cross. The scheme begins to grow due to referrals from health visitors and the centre proves too small.

In September, we moved into a Horsa hut on Woodchurch Lane, Prenton – once part of Devonshire Park School we were now opening three days a week and more volunteers and Mrs Vogwell found funds.

1969 An opportunity class for handicapped children was formed and a childminders certificate gained. Mrs Vogwell studies “Handicap in the Community” at Open University and becomes a founder member of National Toy Libraries Association in London.

1969/70 Due to increased opening times and demand, we become a Registered Charity in 1972.

1972/73 First monies received from the Urban Grant Aid.

1973/74 Mrs Vogwell helps with the establishment of more Toy Libraries on Merseyside and became an organising committee member for the first International Conference in London.

1975/80 Workload increases in proportion to the needs of the community and a family support group is formed – the first Toy Library to function in this way.

1980/83 BBC very interested and made a short film with local help. Mrs Vogwell has a paper accepted for the International Conference in Sweden, whilst more Toy Libraries follow the Wirral formula.

1983/85 A booklet was produced in conjunction with the Area Health Authority whilst more fund-raising and training continue. Mrs Vogwell’s paper is accepted for the Belgium Conference.

1986/87 The Wirral Toy Library served as a model for charities in Northern Ireland, India, Bangladesh and Japan but our old hut was now inadequate – project started to build purpose-built resource centre on ground adjacent to old premises.

1990 We moved into our new centre and demolished the old building to make way for the adventure playground. Membership increased all the time and our name became the Wirral Resource Centre and Toy Library for children with special needs.

1991/92 The adventure playground was completed in time for the official opening and construction began on the sensory garden.

1993 WRCTL celebrated its 25th Anniversary. The sensory garden was completed. Due to increased demand, our opening hours and sessions were lengthened.

Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy were introduced.

Our Charity became fully registered under the Children’s Act (1989).

1994 Revenue funding is obtained from the Community Care services development scheme for the post of Nursery Supervisor and the post of Toy Library Organiser becomes full time. A premature babies group was formed to include support for the families. Our Charity started collecting aluminium foil to raise funds, in connection with the Wirral Borough Council and the Aluminium Foil Recycling Campaign.

1995 Having successfully bid for a service agreement with the Local Social Services, our Centre continues to meet the increasing demands of the special needs community of the Wirral and surrounding areas.

1996 The premature babies group is a resounding success and we have to increase the hours of our Nursery Supervisor to cope with the demand. Fund-raising took up a large amount of our time to enable our Centre to remain at the forefront of development to help with our special needs children and their families.

1997 The Wirral Resource Centre and Toy Library, in conjunction with Wirral Borough Council, exceeded our target weight of recycled aluminium foil by 10% and receive a £500 reward. Aluminium cans also started being collected.

1998 Our 30th Anniversary saw the publication of the booklet ‘A Dream Comes True’.

1999 Our charity was adopted by the Mayor of Wirral’s Millennium Appeal. Class numbers were near maximum and an extra half-day was allocated to the premature babies’ class. The Big Chance Lottery installed a machine at our centre with the biggest winner to date coming from a Wirral Resource Centre and Toy Library ticket.

Our President presented a paper and video at the International Conference of Toy Libraries in Japan.

2000 Work on the Millennium Garden commenced.

Wirral Resource Centre and Toy Library Millennium beakers presented to the children.

2002 First OFSTED inspection.

Wirral Resource Centre and Toy Library becomes OFSTED Registered Crèche No. 306524.

2003 SURE START introduced by Government – with Margaret Hodge as Minister for Children.

Outside painting of building completed.

New Officers and Committee members appointed.

New Nursery Supervisor appointed.

Additional post of Deputy Nursery Supervisor established and filled.

2004 New telephone system, burglar alarm and updated fire system installed.

All Polices and Procedures reviewed and updated reflecting progress within the provision.

Complete redecoration of Nursery Room, Quiet Room and Cleaner’s Room with thanks to ‘Liverpool Cares’ and ‘Unilever’. Also, complete Garden makeover with ‘safe surface’ applied to paths and swing area.

Brick pathway through ‘Sensory Garden’ widened and re-laid.

2005 Kitchen areas fully refurbished to conform to essential Health and Safety Standards. Mrs. Wendy Pickles resigned from the post of Nursery Supervisor and Mrs. Cheryl Murphy was appointed her successor. Second OFSTED inspection. Highest Grade awarded.

2006 WRCTL co-operated with Arrowe Park Neo-natal unit to produce a website.

2007 Mrs. Vogwell our President and Founder died in February. After over 30 years, Mrs. Norah Knowles WRCTL Centre manager retired from office – her successor as Centre Co-ordinator, Mrs. Lynn Chamberlain was appointed. Several of our “long time” volunteers retired after many years of outstanding service to the Centre.

Mrs. Lana Wontner was appointed as part-time Administrative Assistant – Mr. John Stokes helped with Pay Roll. A Grant from CHUC – (Committed to Helping and Understanding Children) supported these appointments for one year.

2008 At the January AGM some new officers and committee members were elected.

A new contract was signed with Wirral Borough Council.

A new safety shutter was fitted to the hatch between the kitchen and sitting room.

Sarah Morag

Currently researching for the British Geological Survey. My passions include gardening, helping children, and community work. Contact me via email on sarahmoyag@gmail.com.

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