‘Save our playgroup’ - Plea for support to help keep St Michael’s Playgroup in Louth open

Louth could lose out on 40 vital pre-school places if St Michaels Playgroup was to close.
Louth could lose out on 40 vital pre-school places if St Michaels Playgroup was to close.

St Michael’s Playgroup in Louth is sending out an appeal for support to get their building back up to standard in order for them to continue running.

The pre-school which is thought to be the oldest in Louth, having been open since the 1970s, has found itself at a crossroads and desperately needs help before it is too late.

The building is currently owned by the Team Parish of Louth,but the playgroup itself is independently run and currently has 40 children on the books.

The playgroup, which caters for children aged between two and five, held a public meeting on Wednesday to determine what move they should take next.

Following a larger-than-expected turnout from parents, the playgroup are determined to do all they can to get the funds in place so the facility can continue running.

A report found the building is in need of remedial work if the playgroup was to stay open. At the meeting it was suggested this could cost £40-£50,000. However, without a management committee in place, the group is unlikely to a be able to secure outside funding, those gathered heard.

Bev Barker, Early Years Welfare Consultant at Lincolnshire County Council also attended the meeting alongside District and County Councillor for Louth, Sarah Dodds.

They were both able to reassure the group, that there is funding available to help them with the vital repairs the building needs.

Ms Barker said: “There would be a massive hole left in Louth if we lost this playgroup provision. As a council, we would be devastated to lose this good facility as it is would be difficult to find another 40 children’s places.

Coun Dodds said it is ‘vital’ that the playgroup stays open.

“We need the spaces for our ever growing town and it is crucial that we keep this group open,” said Coun 
Dodds.

“ If we can’t save it we could well end up in a position where we have a shortage of good pre-school places for our kids.

“My three daughters attended the play school, so I will do all that I can to offer my help and support.”

Their biggest downfall over the years has been the playgroup’s struggle to keep running a voluntary management committee, as the number of members have been low.

But thanks to the public meeting a lot of interest had be shown in joining the committee going forward and looked promising.

Manager of St Michael’s Playgroup, Stephanie Read explains that any help from the Louth community would be greatly appreciated.

She said: “St Michael’s Playgroup is a vital community asset in the town and has been running for over 35 years and we are currently ranked as ‘Good’ by Ofsted.

“Any help or support we can receive would mean the world to all of us.”

Following the meeting, the Team Parish of Louth, 
said they supported the playgroup.

If you would like to find out more information on how you can help, email: stmichaelsplaygroup@gmail.com or call 01507 606144.