Play Matters, formally known as The National Association of Toy and Leisure Libraries (NATLL) was created in the mid 1990s as a UK-wide membership organisation to support the Toy and Leisure Library sector. Over the years it successfully supported the growth of toy libraries, giving many thousands of children - especially those growing up in poverty – more fun and their parents a great deal of support.
The withdrawal of Government funding in 2011 meant Play Matters was no longer viable as a stand–alone organization. The Cabinet Office provided interim funding for the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) to support the organisation through an administration process and explore opportunities to develop a self–sustaining programme.
After conducting a comprehensive review during 2012, NCB has decided that the continuation of Play Matters as a membership body is not financially feasible at this time, and this programme will now come to an end. NCB will however continue to host a dedicated website for Toy Libraries, ensuring new and existing libraries have access to an archive of support materials. Over time the website and other information materials will be integrated within other NCB activities.
NCB will continue its engagement with the Toy Libraries sector through its Early Childhood Unit, the successful Luton Toy Library’s Network, as well as continuing to champion the importance of play for all children through Play England. Existing and new Toy Libraries will also be invited to join one of NCB’s other networks.