A Moray group that provides respite and prepares vulnerable children for mainstream education has desperately launched an appeal to find a temporary base to ensure its future.
The Teddy Bear Developmental Playgroup in Buckie was previously housed at the town’s high school, but Moray Council has said the school will remain closed to community groups for the unforeseeable future to prevent a “potential spread” of coronavirus.
Mission to find temporary premises to support vulnerable children
The group’s Pauline Riddoch is on a mission to secure other premises to make sure sessions resume to support parents’ who have struggled without the “vital” support for months during the pandemic.
She has warned the lack of support over the last eight months has had a “detrimental impact” on the parents’ mental health.
Mrs Riddoch said: “We work with vulnerable children with a range of needs.
“By not being able to practice we are failing to get it right for these children.
“While the Teddy Bear Group is closed most of our children have no where else to go, in turn meaning the parents receive no respite and very little or no interaction with others in similar circumstances.
“The group being closed will be having a huge detrimental impact on our parents’ mental health.”
Staff feeling helpless amidst pandemic
While practitioner Karen Burgess added: “It is upsetting seeing the parents struggle during the pandemic and feel helpless.
“We understand that it is hard to get a room at the school due to covid however we only need a room and a toilet.
“This group becomes a big part of your life and when you see the children achieve things when they have been told they have limits it is amazing.
“Any help would be greatly appreciated in finding temporary premises.”
Council liaising with community groups
A Moray Council spokeswoman said: “An enhanced cleaning programme is in operation in our schools and we’re currently considering how cleaning and risks assessments could be further enhanced, prior to any reintroduction of external lets to our school buildings.
“We’re liaising with all community groups that have previously held lets at Buckie High School and will advise as soon as we can welcome them back.”
Anyone who has a building that the group could use, can e-mail Teddybeargroup@outlook.com.