Sutton after school club hit by devastating blaze

Ashfield Play Care Scheme fire scene.

Ashfield Play Care Scheme fire scene.

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STAFF, parents and children have been left ‘devastated’ after a Sutton after-school club burnt down, destroying thousands of pounds of toys, games and office equipment

The premises of the Ashfield Play Care Scheme, on the Lammas Compound behind the Lammas Leisure Centre, were burnt to the ground after fire broke out there last Wednesday.

Ann Buchanan, left,  with her staff from the Ashfield Play Care Scheme in front of the burnt out play hut.

Ann Buchanan, left, with her staff from the Ashfield Play Care Scheme in front of the burnt out play hut.

Chairman Shirley Wiffen said that they are all still coming to terms with what has happened.

“It’s still early days - we can’t get our heads around it.

“All we want to do is make sure the children are ok as they are very upset. They were heartbroken when they saw what had happened and can’t believe that the unit used to be their old play scheme,” she said.

“We have to keep going because we have well over 200 families who rely on us and the parents were literally crying, saying ‘what are we going to do now?’”

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service believe the fire, which started at around 2pm before anyone was on the site, was started by an electric heater.

Said Shirley: “The alarm rang and we were on our way down, but it had already started.

“We knew it had gone. The intensity of the fire was horrendous.”

All that is left of the unit is the metal frame. None of the contents could be saved.

Local residents have already started to rally round and donate toys, but the Play Care Scheme, which is for youngsters aged four to 12-years-old, has lost items that had been accumulated over many years and still need to replace much more.

They are now appealing for people to come forward with donations of unwanted toys and games to help keep the kids occupied.

Toys for older children, such as games consoles, will be gratefully received, as will toy kitchen units, prams, board games and even office equipment, which was also destroyed.

“We are very grateful for all the support we have had,” said Shirley.

“But we still need things like PlayStation 3s, X-Boxes and a computer for the office, and things for the home corner, like toy kitchens and prams.”

The Play Care Scheme, which is a registered charity and which opens after school and during the school holidays, is currently using the Scout Hut on the same compound, but it is hoped that a new unit can be built on the spot where the old one was when the insurance is sorted out.

Until that happens, they are looking for premises where they will not have to move their equipment every night.

Anybody who has anything that they would like to donate to Ashfield Play Care Scheme should call Shirley on Mansfield 553007