Parents come together to save children’s group

A group of mums from the town who are hoping to save a much-loved toddler group which is at risk of

A group of mums from the town who are hoping to save a much-loved toddler group which is at risk of being shut down due to county council funding cuts - Credit: Archant

A group of mums from Ramsey have joined together to save a children’s group after the county council cut its funding.

Earlier this year, Cambridgeshire County Council announced it would no longer be able to pay for a suitable venue for Stay, Play and Learn, a group for children aged up to five.

In response, parents of children who use the service have joined forces to try to fund it themselves and help other groups in the area too.

The Stay, Play and Learn group is the only service of its type offered by the county council in Ramsey.

However, it was announced earlier this year that the council would no longer pay £31.25 a week to hold the group at Ramsey Community Centre.

It was instead proposed to move the group to a free room at Ramsey Library but to divide the group into two age groups for children up to two and two to five.

Committee chairman Jemma Tingey said: "Most people who attend this group have more than one child and the ages of their children mean they would have to attend separate groups, which in most cases would simply not be possible.

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"Stay, Play and Learn is an incredibly valuable group, providing important learning and socialisation for children and also support for the parents who attend. Splitting the group into two would essentially kill it off.

"The library also lacks important outdoor space so the children wouldn't have the opportunity to go outside during nice weather."

Rather than see the group disband, the parents formed the Friends of Stay and Play and have begun fundraising to pay for the hall themselves.

Ramsey Town Council initially stepped in to pay for the hall hire until January but from then the group will need to cover the costs.

Jemma said: "We are so grateful to the town council for stepping in to help but we fully understand this isn't a cost they can cover indefinitely.

"We have also received a kind donation of £300 from the Hospital Charity Shop in Great Whyte which is a great start to our fundraising."

The group is now appealing for help from the community to cover the cost of the hall hire.

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said, "The Huntingdonshire Child and Family Centre is working closely with the Friends of Group and Ramsey Town Council to continue to run the popular and well-attended Stay, Play and Learn sessions at Ramsey Community Centre.

"We provide the staff and resources to run the weekly group as well as funding, advice and training to help the Friends of Group to get established and grow, including supporting them to apply to the County Council Community Reach Fund which they have been awarded.

"We are fully supportive of the Friends of Group and are working with them to explore other funding opportunities and to ensure that the group is a positive, successful and sustainable group that is embraced within the local community."

The group can be contacted by e-mail at: