Play is children’s work and toys are their tools. Children with access to a wide range of well-selected toys are more likely to be challenged and stimulated and play is how children learn. This is the belief of the organisers of the Lakemba Toy Library that was started in January 2012 and this library has become a vital service for many families in the community. The toys Second Chance Toys has donated to the Toy Library have been borrowed and enjoyed by many families such as Shamima, Raema and Hassan who live locally.




One mother, Mandy, escaped a serious domestic violence situation, setting up a home with her five children aged 8 years and under in a small rural community. She was very good with her budgeting but could never make it spin far enough to allow her children to attend birthday parties of other children at school and preschool, as there was always a small gift to be purchased. She put some of the Second Chance Toys she was given in the wardrobe and would pull them out whenever her children were invited to a party. The simple pleasure of being able to attend birthday parties and give presents and not be embarrassed. This enabled much greater acceptance and social participation of her children into the local community.


Ada and Bill


Ada and Bill have three young children aged 8, 5 and 3. The three-year-old was born very prematurely and has had significant health issues. The families have been inundated with medical expenses since the child’s birth and have been under enormous financial strain. Mission Australia was able to give them a variety of pre-loved toys thanks to a huge donation from Second Chance Toys. To know that Christmas was taken care of with these toys was such a relief for Ada and Bill.




Shamima has 2 sons aged 5 and 3 years. The youngest one has recently been diagnosed with autism and the older one is in Kindergarten where his teacher finds he has some “challenging” behaviours and difficulty following the rules. Shamima and her husband are from Pakistan and there is no extended family support – her husband works long hours and provides little parenting support.


Shamima only recently joined the Toy Library but has become a regular borrower as she finds it very useful to be able to have something “new” at home each week. The toys help to occupy her high energy boys and instead of watching TV they can play whilst she cooks and looks after the family.


Because of the restricted space in local flats and the need to be considerate of shift working neighbours, many families admit that their children have more than the recommended hours of “screen time” daily if something new and interesting is not available as a distraction. The ability to be able to access new quality toys each week from the Community Toy Library is a boon for many families and an aid to local children’s development.



Five Little Girls


A family who received a donation from Second Chance Toys has five young girls, aged from a baby to an 8 year old. The parents have no drivers licence, and virtually no money with mounting debts. Unfortunately the family is troubled by drug and alcohol issues and has looked to Mission Australia for help with their family. Christmas has always been a burden and last year Mission Australia found it extremely gratifying to see the relief and the smiles on their faces when they knew they could have Christmas in a home with toys for the children.


St George Community Housing

Tenants from St George Community Housing and Housing NSW were elated to receive donations from Second Chance Toys for their children at Christmas time in both 2011 and 2012. Toys were provided as Christmas gifts to children under 12, who due to their circumstances, would have otherwise had to go without during the festive season.


Many social housing tenants find the Christmas season particularly difficult due to the expense of purchasing Christmas gifts on top of other household expenses. Those on low incomes often experience such financial strain that their children miss out completely at this time of the year.


It was a huge relief for parents to know that their children could experience the joy of giving and receiving at Christmas, thanks to the generous donations of Second Chance Toys. Many tenants have commented that they “couldn’t believe the condition of the toys they received, and that their children could only dream of receiving toys of this quality”.


While Second Chance Toys is always delighted with the response from children who are so happy to contribute their much loved and gently used toys to other children, it is ironic that the greatest joy some of the recipient children received was that it gave them the gift of being able to give.  .


Raema and Hassan


Raema and Hassan are parents from Bangladesh who live in a two-bedroom unit in Lakemba. Like many other families in the area, they have no family in Australia. Their triplets were born in March 2011 – 2 girls and 1 boy prematurely at twenty-nine weeks. Initially the babies had health and developmental issues and life was fairly stressful however with help from the local supported playgroup and access to the Toy Library the family has helped the children’s developmental needs.


In Lakemba the median family income is $650 per week and the median rent is $300 per week so after rent, food, bills and other essentials there is not much extra cash for ‘luxuries’ like toys for children. Having three small children in a flat poses some challenges especially now that the triplets are all mobile toddlers – life is very busy.


Becoming members of the Lakemba Community Toy Library has been a great help to this family who have become regular borrowers of the quality toys available. Hassan usually visits the Toy Library once a month and is very thoughtful in consulting with the Toy Librarian and choosing toys which best suit the developmental needs and interests of his children as they grow and change.




Second Chance Toys NSW Incorporated is a not-for-profit organisation in Australia set-up to rescue and recycle gently used plastic toys by donating them to children in need.


In Australia in 2010, Second Chance Toys began in the St George region of Sydney with toy collections organised through local Schools, community groups and individuals.


Second Chance Toys now organises larger collections through Corporates and Community Toy Drives and has its first drop-off location in Marrickville at The Bower. With increased awareness and through partnering with larger organisations we aim to increase toy collections to help more children across Sydney and beyond.


Organisation Details
20 Herbert Street Oatley, NSW 2223
Contact details: 

+61 2 8116 3042