Playgroup at risk if funds can’t be found

A VALUABLE ASSET: Youngsters at Layham Playgroup, which is under threat.
A VALUABLE ASSET: Youngsters at Layham Playgroup, which is under threat.

A playgroup which has been running for 40 years is in “dire need” of funds to save it from closure.

Layham Playgroup, which is based at the village hall, provides early years education for 15 toddlers.

The group is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, but its future is currently in doubt.

“People seem to have forgotten about us in terms of fundraising,” said Sharon Foxwell, chairman of the playgroup’s committee.

“We have to turn the group into a business and move away from being a charity as we are not getting enough money from the Government.”

Mrs Foxwell, whose four-year-old son Max attends the group, which is located next to a working farm and surrounded by countryside, said a new committee had been set up to raise funds.

“We are in dire need and are trying to do as much as we can,” she said.

“We have such a wonderful setting here and the staff are so committed. It would be a real shame to lose it.”

In an attempt to raise vital funds, the committee is putting on a spring pamper evening at the Ansell Community Centre in Hadleigh.

Beauty salons, hairdressers and food producers from the area have all come together to help out, and a range of treatments will be available along with a series of raffle prizes.

Clare Andrade, who started working at the playgroup two years ago when her daughter, Phoebe, four, took up a place, said the quality of learning and care was hard to beat.

“The playgroup supervisor Michelle Elmer has been there for over 10 years and is so dedicated,” said Mrs Andrade, from Hadleigh.

“The staff are all very well qualified and the group has always had good Ofsted reports.

“I have many friends who have had babies come to the playgroup and it is so valuable for the community.”

Around 200 tickets, costing £5, are available for the committee’s fundraiser, which takes place tomorrow at 7.30pm. For tickets, contact Michelle Elmer on 07999 866419 or email