On Tuesday and Sundays at the Ballarat Toy Library, dozens of children come together to learn, socialise and experiment through play.
More than 120 member families have access to 1500 toys at the library, helping them save money and space by loaning rather than purchasing toys.
Volunteers at the Ballarat Toy Library are calling for members of the Ballarat community to register for Ballarat's biggest fun run event and support their cause.
What we really like about the Ballarat Toy Library is it allows anyone regardless of circumstance and opportunity to socialise and play as an activity for enhancing learning.- Matt Jenkins, The Ballarat Foundation
Participants of the Ballarat Foundation's Run For A Cause can nominate the Ballarat Toy Library as their charity of choice, meaning a percentage of their registration fee will be donated to the group.
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Ballarat Toy Library president Sally Tuck said the volunteer-run organisation was hoping to use funds raised through the event to support two projects; delivering toys on loan to children in isolated areas and purchasing toys to support non-English speaking children with early language learning skills and children with special learning needs.
The Toy Library has partnered with Playgroups Victoria to transport toys to families and groups who may find it difficult to come into Ballarat to loan from the library.
"If you live outside Ballarat you should be able to access the same toys as children in Ballarat," Ms Tuck said.
"Groups can meet at churches, local halls or homes and we can supply toys they can share around their families. We would love to put more resources into that project."
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The Ballarat Toy Library is also supplying toys to a child-minding service for the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council for children who come from non-English speaking households.
"When they are playing with toys sounds can help them learn and begin the basics of starting English. That can then help their parents," Ms Tuck said.
The Ballarat Foundation's second annual charity event Run For A Cause will be held on November 17, with a focus on supporting early childhood development and school readiness.
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Australian Early Development Census data released earlier this year showed one in five children in Ballarat start school disadvantaged in at least one area of development.
Eureka Mums, Eureka Community Kindergarten Association, Playgroup Victoria, Ballarat Community Health, Uniting Ballarat and Ballarat Reads, along with the Ballarat Toy Library, have been selected as charity partners for the Run For A Cause event.
Watch the Run For A Cause promotional video below
Ballarat Foundation chief executive Matt Jenkins said all charity partners were selected based on their impact in the zero to five age group.
"What we really like about the Ballarat Toy Library is it allows anyone regardless of circumstance and opportunity to socialise and play as an activity for enhancing learning," he said.
"It is a small member run organisation that can utilise additional support in many ways so the fact we are able to contribute to helping their success is important to us."
The Ballarat Toy Library moved into a new home at Barkly Square in August and is working to secure the long-term viability of the service.
Committee member and parent Michelle McLeod-Dryden said the resource had been 'invaluable' to their family and she hoped exposure through Run For A Cause would encourage more families to join.
"I have been going weekly for the past two years. We have two preschool age children and the toys we get often complement my son's speech therapy," she said.
"I have certain goals I want to meet with his speech and I can go into the library and find a toy that is appropriate for the goals for that week.
"We change toys over weekly and it is so great to be able to enjoy such a wide variety of toys at home in an affordable and sustainable way."
Ms McLeod-Dryden said the Toy Library fitted with the Ballarat Foundation's focus on school readiness and early childhood development by making learning fun; "A wide range of toys encourage children to explore the world around them through play which then supports their social, physical, emotional and academic development."
Run for a Cause will feature a half marathon, 10-kilometre run, five-kilometre run and walk and a popular 1km Kids' Dash.
The Ballarat Foundation is calling for members of the community to get involved by registering to participate in an event or to volunteer.
The Ballarat Toy Library is encouraging anyone running for the organisation to dress up in their favourite toy costume or run with their favourite toy.
Visit run4ac.org/ for more information and to register.