All aboard as the Playbus rolls again

IPSWICH Playbus is back on the move again – much to the delight of parents and tots.Playbus organisers celebrated its re-launch in Lloyds Avenue, Ipswich, attended by Ipswich Mayor Penny Breakwell and scores of enthusiastic families.

IPSWICH Playbus is back on the move again – much to the delight of parents and tots.

Playbus organisers celebrated its re-launch in Lloyds Avenue, Ipswich, attended by Ipswich Mayor Penny Breakwell and scores of enthusiastic families.

Despite the success of The Evening Star's 1998 campaign to Save Our Playbus, the facility, which costs £50,000 a year to run, has been off the road for two-and-a-half years after the previous committee disbanded.

But the charity's organisers were today revelling in the success of the launch day and said the wheels will soon be in motion for the double-decker to pay a visit near you.


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Jenny Thorsen, Ipswich Community Playbus chairwoman, said: "The launch was to say we are back on the road.

"We had loads of people visit and we lots of inquiries about when the playbus will come to their area.

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"Once we get three sessions established we hope to expand with more hours and visit more places."

Jenny, who works as a group development officer for ICVS (Ipswich and District Council for Voluntary Services), took on board the project 18 months ago after a suggestion from her boss. A meeting was held and a team of trustees was formed.

Two part time workers were taken on board, Jo Studd, co-ordinator and play leader, and playworker Rebecca Whiting.

The bus will first hold sessions at three sites – the Margaret Catchpole public house in Cliff Lane, Bramford Road and Downside Close – on dates to be set, before expanding to other sites on demand.

People are asked to look out for the posters to find out when the bus will be visiting.

The playbus has new toys thanks to a £400 donation from Woolworths, after several had to be replaced when the bus was vandalised two years ago.

Goodie bags were also donated to the children on the launch day, courtesy of Pizza Hut.

Mum Leanna Melville, 23, of Gipping Road, Ipswich, who is mum to three-year-old Perrie and has another child on the way, was delighted the bus was now up and running.

She said: "It is a good facility which gives children who are not at nursery the chance to play with other children."

Mum-of-two Angela Lewis, 28, of Newbury Road, who has daughters Bethany, four, and Tia, two, was also full of praise for the facility.

She said: "It offers a chance for the children to mix with other children and for parents to talk to other adults."

The double decker has play facilities on both floors, a reading room, sandpit, games and more.

It has received some funding from the lottery's community fund but always need donations.

If you can help, or would like the bus to visit your area, contact Jenny 9 – 5pm on weekdays on 01473 251834.

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