Playgroup faces loss of home

A POPULAR playgroup may be left without a home for the first time in its 36-year history if it can not find £70,000 by the end of January.The Three Bears playgroup in Kesgrave hoped to begin work on a new purpose-built centre in the grounds of Cedarwood primary school in the New Year.

A POPULAR playgroup may be left without a home for the first time in its 36-year history if it can not find £70,000 by the end of January.

The Three Bears playgroup in Kesgrave hoped to begin work on a new purpose-built centre in the grounds of Cedarwood primary school in the New Year.

But the mammoth funding shortfall may mean they lose a £90,000 grant already promised to them.

The group secured the grant from the county council in June to help fund the building work.

At the time it was estimated that the final cost of the project would be around £120,000 but they received the latest estimates this week and the projected cost has rocketed to £160,000.

A condition of the council grant was that the money be spent by August 2004 and the council need to know by the end of January whether the group will be starting work soon – if they can not find the £70,000 shortfall before this they will lose the loan altogether.

Most Read

The group's business manager Lisa Poole said: "We got the final figures this week and we're just completely shocked. We expected to have to find another £30,000 but this is just far too much.

"It really doesn't look like we are going to be able to do it."

The group, which currently runs six sessions a week, has been based at the youth centre in the grounds of Kesgrave High School for the past few years but building work there means they have been forced to move to a temporary home in the old scout hut.

They have contacted numerous local authorities and organisations to ask for support but have received little response. They have also held a variety of fundraising events, such as a Christmas fair which raised £500, and a series of clairvoyant evenings.

Mrs Poole said: "These little things all add up but we are talking about huge sums of money. We need to find someone who is prepared to loan the money to us at a very low interest rate.

"I'm hoping we won't have to close completely. The chances are we can carry on as we are now but we only have space for 24 children and we already have a waiting list.

"Kesgrave is a rapidly expanding town and at the moment we can't offer the services we would like to. If we had the new centre we could lay on more sessions each week to meet the demand."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter