Playgroup to consider next move after funding refusal

THE decision not to fund places at Richmount Pre-School Playgroup has been greeted with “disappointment” by parents and committee members.

The playgroup, which has 24 children on the enrolment list for September, had applied for funding claiming there was a need in the area.

However, at its meeting on Thursday, members of the multi-agency Pre-School Education Advisory Group (PEAG) decided there was “sufficient provision in the area at present”.

Joe Garvey, secretary for the playgroup, said the committee was waiting for a written decision from the board before any decision could be taken on the way forward.

A statement released by the Southern Education and Library Board said, “This decision was based upon an analysis of first preference applications which indicated that the number of places available in the Birches ward and in wards in close proximity exceeds demand.”

Mr Garvey added, “I have written to the board asking when we will receive their decision and also an explanation as to how this need is being met by the existing providers and who they are.

“I also want to find out exactly who PEAGs ultimately report to as we have been told by the Education Minister John O’Dowd to lobby our MLAs and the SELB on this.”

“ The playgroup committee was due to meet yesterday Thursday) evening at which the next steps in the fight for funding were to be discussed.