Playgroup axed due 
to volunteer shortage

Winslow Playgroup Fete in June 130622M-C384
Winslow Playgroup Fete in June 130622M-C384

Winslow’s Playgroup and wraparound care service are due to close in a week’s time.

Playgroup leader Judith Majaika said she has had no alternative but to close the group after nobody stepped forward to serve on the voluntary management committee at an annual meeting last month.

Mrs Majeika said: “It’s very sad but in this day and age there’s a lot of responsibility put on them by Early Years, so nobody’s willing to take it on.

“Some parents did step up but when they realised what the responsibility was they said: ‘No, we haven’t got time for this’. You’ve got all these demands, you have to do courses, and it’s a lot to ask if you’re doing a full-time job anyway.”

The playgroup, which was rated good in all areas in its last Ofsted report, moved to Winslow Youth Centre in 2007 after previously being in the St Laurence Room for many years.

Mrs Majeika said: “I feel very sad. Janet Carroll and I have 53 years of pre-school experience between us.

“I’m not going back into child care and neither is Janet because of the demands of Early Years and all the red tape and bureaucracy.

“It’s such a shame but it’s the way the world is.”

She said all parents who wanted to have managed to get places for their children at other pre-schools, including Treehouse in Winslow, and Padbury Pre-school.

But there is no other before and after-school service on offer for the 48 children who currently use the Buzz Clubs, based at the playgroup.

Mrs Majeika said: “Treehouse only runs until 3pm but then parents have got to find someone else to pick their children up and take them somewhere else.

“They’re so sad because it suited their children to be here with us.”

Town councillor Llew Monger said: “There isn’t any doubt that a town of our size needs the after-school care. It is to be hoped that it can be quickly reinstated somehow.”

The closure also has implications for Winslow Town Council, which manages the youth centre building, as rent from the playgroup has been a major source of income.

But Wendy Castle, of the Friends of Winslow Youth Centre, said the committee expects to have a new tenant in one of the youth centre rooms shortly.

Mrs Castle said: “It’s not a disaster for the town council or the Friends because we’re determined to keep youth provision going up there.

“We will continue to fundraise and encourage local businesses to sponsor the Youth Cafe.