A PLAYGROUP which has been at the heart of its community for more than 60 years is appealing for funding to save it from closure.

Croesyceiliog Playgroup, based in the annexe at Woodland Road Social Centre, is appealing for funds after an unexpected drop in numbers.

In July, the group was looking after 45 children, however that number has now dropped to just 12.

Playgroup manager Jo Williams said the group was facing a battle to get through to the New Year.

“We had a waiting list for the children until July, but this is our worst year since I have been here for numbers in September and October,” she said.

“It’s a low birth year. The nursery we do our wrap around service with usually has 32 children in its morning sessions and another 32 children in the afternoon sessions.

“This year, their morning sessions have just 11 children in them.


“So many more parents are working longer hours now too, so we don’t get as many coming in as our sessions run from 8.30am to 3.30pm and parents don’t finish work until later.”

The group is looking for ways to keep afloat until January, when a number of new arrivals have already signed up to start.

Mrs Williams explained children were able to start at the group as soon as they turned two-and-a-half.

She said the group had looked at applying for grants to keep the group going, but they have not been able to secure a cash injection.

“We have looked into applying for grants to keep us afloat until January,” she said. “Most grants can’t give cash injections, but instead they ensure the money is used for equipment.

“The council have been fantastic with us. Over the summer they did up our building free of charge, and are working with us now to help try and find a solution.”

Free Press Series:

(Children at the Croesyceiliog Playgroup, which is fundraising to keep afloat until the New Year. Picture: Croesyceiliog Playgroup.)

Having looked after children in the area for more than six decades, losing the group would be a massive hit to the community.

“It would be so sad if it shuts as it has supported so many people in the community," said Mrs Williams. "You have parents who came here that now send their children here too.

“When I started, the group was just a few mornings a week, but we saw the need for cheap regular childcare in the area, so it grew from there.

“We’ve had lots of support which has been lovely to hear. We have had parents and grandparents in the area get in touch with us and offer to help out."

Free Press Series:

(Children playing parachute games at Croesyceiliog Playgroup. Picture: Croesyceiliog Playgroup.)

Mrs Williams said the fundraiser had been set up for the benefit of the staff, who are currently volunteering shifts to keep the group running.

“I’ve been here a long time and know how it works – it can go up and down with numbers,” she said. “With our group, nothing is kept in our pocket. We are a community playgroup and we aim to keep our prices really low.

“The girls are volunteering shifts to keep it open at the moment.

“One of the girls working at the moment is a young mum who can’t afford to stick around knowing is we are still going to be there.”

The playgroup has set up a fundraising page to help with its running costs until January. If you would like to donate, visit gofundme.com/f/save-croesy-playgroup