Fire-hit playgroup faces closure threat

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Toddlers could miss out on playtime for good as their Kirkliston playgroup faces the threat of closure.

A blaze – believed to have been started deliberately – tore through the sports pavilion at Allison Park in January.

Since the fire, staff and the community have rallied together to get the playgroup, which is used by 24 families, back up and running at its temporary accommodation in huts at Kirkliston Primary School. But the long-term future of the playgroup remains uncertain, with the huts due to be demolished at Easter.

South Queensferry firefighters, who helped to tackle the blaze, were invited along to the playgroup’s 40th birthday celebrations last week.

However, it may well be the last party if suitable alternative accommodation can’t be found by the summer.

Helen Hogg, chairperson of the playgroup committee, said: “There are two major hurdles – if we are able to get back into the pavilion there is a lot of work needed so we are going to have to fundraise.

“We have already been offered help and materials by many local businesses including a kitchen, some joinery work, a painter, a new carpet, several hours of cleaning by local cleaners and lots more – what an amazing community to be part of.

“We also set up a donation page which people have been very kind and given money to help pay the bills – some of which we did not foresee, thanks to the fire.

“The second option is much more bleak and that is that if we are not able to return to the pavilion then it looks like we face closure.”

A City of Edinburgh Council spokesperson said: “Following the fire at the Pavilion, Kirkliston Playgroup have been temporarily accommodated in Kirkliston Primary School. Whilst discussions are ongoing concerning repairs to the Pavilion these arrangements will continue until repairs are completed.”