Children set to ‘lose out’

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Children in Linlithgow may find it hard to find places at local playgroups as all face serious threat of closure.

Elinor playgroup which met at Boghall Cricket ground closed last November, today is the final session of Preston playgroup, which has been in the town for the past 30 years, and the remaining local groups are worried for their future.

Jane Woolsey, chairwoman of Springfield Playgroup, said: “The remaining playgroups at Springfield, Lochside and Linlithgow Bridge are struggling to keep their doors open. Without the support of the community these valuable assets will close.

“Playgroups provide fun, caring and stimulating environments for children to develop social skills, physical and mental abilities. With numbers of children attending fluctuating a great deal throughout the year, playgroups are struggling to stay open to provide the valuable service within the community. If they close, it is the children who will lose out.”

The local playgroups provide for children aged around two and a quarter to five years, and are charitable organisations run by management committees, made up of parents.

Jane added: “The main challenge for playgroups is funds. These need to be sufficient to pay all costs including paying the staff wages, rent and insurance. The fees parents pay generally do not cover the running costs and therefore fundraising is necessary. This is not a pleasant position to be in, especially when that fundraising may be to pay staff wages.”

She added that many parents were unaware that children can remain at playgroup after starting nursery, which leads to a high turnover.