Playgroup to close despite protests

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A THREE to fives playgroup in Portlethen is to close in the summer, following a public meeting.

And a creche and twos group is also under threat, as part of Aberdeenshire Council’s attempts to cut £58 million from their budget over the next two years.

Parents decided at a meeting last Thursday that it would not be financially viable to take over and continue as an independent playgroup.

Portlethen mother-of-two Alison Campbell said: “We realised at the meeting that there was no way we could have turned the decision around. The council’s new policy is to cut costs in areas that are running playgroups at a cost to the council and use the school nurseries to their full capacity, but they should be assessing each playgroup individually rather than Aberdeenshire as a whole.

“Portlethen is a fast growing town and we’re not run at a loss. To go independent and keep the playgroup and staff as we have it at the moment we would have to take on the staff and sustain their wages until we got the group up and running which can take up to 18 months. This would mean having to find a minimum of £10,000 before we even have the playgroup.”

She said that the need for spaces at playgroups is only set to increase as Portlethen expands, and that the council may have to restart the group in August due to a lack of spaces at the school nurseries.

She added: “It was also revealed at the meeting that the twos group and creche are under fire. Our community centre as we know it will be gone. We really have to try and keep this place alive.

“The creche is a saviour to many mums for their sanity and it starts the social skills of our children interacting with other children. It may come to the point where their first experience of these environments will be when they start nursery school at three.”

Alison said that another meeting is to be arranged for parents/guardians/carers in Portlethen to discuss what is next for all of the community centre groups.