A Playgroup has closed after 43 years serving the community.
In 1970 a small group of local mothers, lacking a local nursery, decided to open a playgroup at St Michael and St Helen’s church on Fleminghouse Lane, Almondbury, with the intention of a playgroup run by mums for mums.
At its peak, Quarryhill pre-school playgroup opened its doors four mornings a week for up to 48 children on register with a full waiting list.
It provided not only a safe environment for pre-school children to learn through play but it was also a vital support network for many parents and guardians.
It continued to provide a service to the community with many of its staff donating their time for free.
As time went on the demand for full-time childcare caused numbers to fall.
The team kept going for as long as they could with falling numbers, but it was with great sadness that the team packed the toys away for the very last time recently.
Ann Shaw who has been involved with the playschool for the last 32 years and whose own two daughters were Quarryhill toddlers said: “It was very emotional at our last playgroup session knowing there would not be another.
“The demand for full-time childcare is much greater now with fewer parents looking for morning-only sessions.
“Also government funding for three year olds means that schools take children into the education system earlier than they did previously. “It is not only sad for the loss of the playgroup to the local children, but also for the loss of social and community interaction for the parents of the children.
“I have had numerous Quarryhill toddlers who have grown up and then in turn brought their own children to the playgroup, including one little boy who was the last to leave.
“I am grateful and would like to send a thank-you to all the mums, dads, grandparents, aunties and uncles who have supported us throughout the years.”
A sale of playgroup toys and equipment was held recently at the church with funds raised being gifted equally between St Michael’s and St Helen’s Church and Forget Me Not Trust.