CHILDREN, parents and grandparents have been left devastated as they were told a playgroup session will stop.
Families who attend two of the Tiny Time sessions at the Renewal Family Centre on Vulcan Road were told the shocking news.
There were six weekly sessions held on Mondays to Thursdays and each see up to 50 children and their parents or carers attending.
But now only four sessions will remain on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons and Wednesday morning.
The Reverend Jonny Lee, senior pastor at the Renewal Christian Centre, told The Observer: “As some of our volunteers will be moving on to new opportunities from September, we have taken the decision to reduce the number of Tiny Time sessions from six sessions to four sessions during the week.
“This will ensure we can maintain the high standards parents and carers have come to expect of our Tiny Time sessions.
“We regret any inconvenience this change may cause.
“However, we have a duty of care to all those who use our family centre services, ensuring we are fully staffed to maintain our high standards of provision, and ensure the safety of families who visit our site.
“While this change may not be ideal for everyone, we have endeavoured to provide as much notice as possible for all the families involved who are very valuable to us.”
He added the sessions currently serve 87 toddler and 21 of those will be starting school at the start of the academic year.
All remaining families have been invited to reserve a place on an alternate session, Revd Lee said.
Cathy Crossley, an Ofsted inspector, has been attending the Tuesday morning session with her daughter and grandchildren for two years.
She said: “Ceasing to run these Tuesday playgroup sessions defies all logic.
“My daughter cried when she was told the news this morning. She has Tuesdays off work to ensure her children can attend this brilliant playgroup.”
The large hall the playgroup is held in has a range of play equipment including outdoor play equipment, children’s toilet cubicles, wash basins and baby change facilities.
Rachel Limond a volunteer said: “This playgroup has been a lifeline for me for four years and counting.
“I have no family around here, so I started to attend Tiny Time shortly after my daughter – who was born prematurely – came out of hospital.
“I started volunteering here three years ago, because I wanted to give something back in appreciation of what this playgroup has done for my daughter and I.”