Charity teams up with schools to help find a new home for Finedon playgroup

Rebecca Stanford-Durdan from the playgroup with Revd Richard Coles, who is a trustee of the charity, and headteacher Joanne Lloyd-Williams with pupils
Rebecca Stanford-Durdan from the playgroup with Revd Richard Coles, who is a trustee of the charity, and headteacher Joanne Lloyd-Williams with pupils

A playgroup which was facing an uncertain future is set to have a new start in a new home.

St Michael’s Playgroup has been running in Finedon for more than 20 years, but just a few months ago they found out they would have to leave the St John Ambulance room where they meet by July.

While trying to raise the funds needed to buy the building and carry out the necessary repairs or find new premises, they contacted the Finedon Educational Charity Trust.

This led to discussions with Finedon’s junior and infant schools to see if it was possible to relocate to either site.

Headteacher for both schools Joanne Lloyd-Williams said they were keen to build stronger links with the playgroup so started looking at renting out space at their Apple Tree Club, which is only used for before and after school and holiday club.

Mrs Lloyd-Williams said: “For the past few months the school has worked closely with the charity and the playgroup with a major focus on what adaptations would need to be made to the space, in order for the playgroup to have the facilities it needs to provide a high quality pre-school experience.

“A major aspect of this is focused on developing a strip of land adjacent to the club to allow the playgroup to have access to outdoor learning, which is a key feature of good early years practice.

“We are really excited about the prospect of having the playgroup on our school site.

“This has enormous benefits for the education of the pre-school children in terms of preparing them for their transition into school and will allow for them to be integrated into the school setting fully by the time they are statutory school age.

“The school will be working very closely with playgroup staff, allowing them access to training and educational expertise.

“In addition it will allow the school the opportunity to work with families and their future pupils at a much younger age, which we currently aren’t able to do.

“We are very grateful to the Educational Charity Trust for supporting the school’s desire to have pre-school provision on their site and for enabling the premises to be developed to meet the needs of the learners at St Michael’s Playgroup.”

Finedon Educational Charity was set up in 1980 to promote the education and development of young people in Finedon.

A piece of land was left to the charity but it is only in recent years that they have been able to sell it and reap the benefits.

Money from the sale can be invested and then any income from this becomes a pot of cash to help out individuals, groups or schools in Finedon for educational purposes.

This project with the playgroup will be its largest so far, costing about £42,000.

Rebecca Stanford-Durdan from the playgroup said this was a perfect outcome after months of worrying about what would happen after July.

It is hoped that the work can be carried out in time for the children aged between two and five to start at their new premises in September.