Playgroups struggling financially following a coronavirus lockdown-enforced closure earlier this year are issuing pleas to the public to help secure their future.
Community-led playgroups in Banff and Fyvie have both issued appeals to the public for financial support as they try to recover from the loss of income experienced during their closure between March and August.
Add to that a reduction in annual Scottish Government- funded hours from 1,140 to 900 an a halt on rent-free premises from Aberdeenshire Council and some are finding it tricky to bounce back.
Banff Playgroup at Toddlers, based in the town’s Deveron Community and Sports Centre, is now back up and running and “doing well” but with the cancellation of its usual fundraising parties and events, it’s asking for help to fund children’s Christmas presents.
Joint chairwoman Jillian McBain said: “When the funded hours were put up to roughly 30 hours per week per child, we employed more staff to be able to do that and when Covid hit we obviously had to close and then the hours were reduced to 900.
“With the additional cleaning now required, we still need the extra staff in but we are not getting the additional funding.
“The hours will go up again in January so we will be okay. Normally we would never have to think about Just Giving appeals but we are having to look at doing things a bit differently now.”
The group’s eight staff look after around 40 children and the committee-run nursery usually holds fundraising events throughout the year. This time, though, it’s asking people to help raise £400 to ensure it can buy each child a Christmas present.
“We put the page up on Tuesday and have raised £130 already,” Mrs McBain added. “We are really happy and grateful to have had such a response.”
Fyvie Playgroup, meanwhile, has experienced a similarly difficult year. It warns that unless it can source funding urgently it may not be able to continue into 2021.
A spokeswoman for the Fyvie Primary School-based nursery said: “We urgently need financial support as we are on the brink of closure.
“2020 has been a difficult year for so many and we do not have the funds to continue into next year.
“Our group is a fantastic opportunity for local children to learn and play in the great outdoors as well as in the comfort of our room within the school.”
After appealing for advice and donations from businesses it has since been inundated with suggestions on where to look for funding and is currently working through a “huge amount” of information.