Village playgroup under financial pressure

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Wylam Pre-school staff. L-R: Andrea Matthias, Emma Bacon, Michelle Gardiner, Lauren Jewitt.
Wylam Pre-school staff. L-R: Andrea Matthias, Emma Bacon, Michelle Gardiner, Lauren Jewitt.
30 March 2017 11:03AM

AFTER five decades in the village, Wylam’s playgroup is under pressure.

Wylam Pre-school has lost thousands of pounds since dangerous conditions forced it out of the Falcon Community Centre.

In February the library at the centre was closed after a large chunk of plaster fell from the ceiling.

A county council surveyor inspected the building and told pre-school leaders that the same could happen in their area of the building.

With work required to make the building safe, both the library and pre-school were moved out.

The library moved to a temporary home at Wylam Methodist Church and the pre-school temporarily moved to Wylam First School, where it runs afternoon sessions.

However, no longer housed within its registered premises, the pre-school was unable to apply for Early Years Funding.

And temporarily unable to offer morning sessions, the register of children dropped from 15 to five.

Pre-school leader Michelle Gardiner, who works within a staff team of four, said: “We have lost thousands of pounds and we still have to pay staff.

“We are at risk of running out of money. We’re at the point where we only have enough to pay for staff redundancies.”

On Wednesday though, a spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said that following further checks by a structural engineer and health and safety officers, the pre-school could now move back to the community centre. She added that the library would remain closed until further notice.

To boost pre-school funds, a fund-raising event has been planned for April 29. And a crowd-funding page, has seen local residents and parents pitch in with donations.

Michelle said: “The parents have been supportive and everyone in the village cares about the pre-school because it’s been going for so long.”

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