Kemble and District Playgroup has been running since 1973. During this time, as with any playgroup, numbers have fluctuated, with a usual trend of fewer children in the autumn term and, hopefully, a full quota during the summer term. However, last year our playgroup suffered with very reduced numbers combined with an increasing expenditure and we found ourselves very near to closure.
Following the AGM in October 2010, a number of emergency measures were put in place to try to save the organisation: we reduced our opening hours from 5 or 6 hours a day to 3 hours a day, (as income for the extra hours did not cover our expenditure); we temporarily reduced the number of staff hours as our ratios were higher than required by the Early Years Foundation Stage; our fees were lower than the money contributed by the County Council and so these fees were increased to match the funding; and finally, a concerted fundraising effort combining events (such as a successful Ladies’ Night) and applications for local community grants meant that we were able to give playgroup a more stable financial situation.
Until this term, Kemble and District Playgroup had been situated in Kemble Village Hall. Although the facilities in the hall are outstanding, a great deal of time had been spent in setting out and packing up at the beginning and end of each session. So, in addition to the actions above, Playgroup contacted Kemble Primary School, situated just across the road. Playgroup already had a good relationship with the school as the playground and forest school had been used by us on a regular basis. After successful negotiations it was decided that Kemble Playgroup should move to the school premises, providing a setting which could be set out permanently, allowing children’s work to be displayed and for projects to continue daily without interruption.
We have only been running at school for two days as I write this but the initial indications are that it is a great success with the school, Playgroup staff and children being incredibly happy. Thanks to the marketing, our numbers are healthy (in the autumn term!) and the relationship with the school can only become stronger. We are all looking forward to the future with excitement and enthusiasm.
For more information about Kemble & District Playgroup see here: www.kembleplaygroup.co.uk