Sutton toddler play group under threat

.Children at the Carousel pre school centre in Sutton  which is in  desperate  need of funding pictured are Millie Connor and Maddi

.Children at the Carousel pre school centre in Sutton which is in desperate need of funding pictured are Millie Connor and Maddi

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A SUTTON toddler play group run by volunteers could close after 35 years of providing childcare because of funding problems.

Committee members behind Carousel Under Fives, based at the Lammas compound, say they cannot afford to make needed repairs to their dilapidated building.

But because they have not held a lease from landlords Ashfield District Council for several years, applications for funding have come to nothing.

Committee secretary Lindsey Ford said they recently lost out on £5,000 of funding.

“The issue of the lease is something we have been back and forth with Ashfield District Council over,” Lindsey said. “It is causing us big problems - most recently we were talking to the Coalfield Regeneration Trust, who said we were eligible for funding.

“But because we have not got a lease they were not willing to spend the money - and you cannot really blame them.”

Carousel Under Fives is open to children aged two to five-years-old and those up to eight-years-old during summer holidays. In its most recent Ofsted inspection, inspectors found the play group to be providing a good service in all areas.

But the group’s dwindling funds took a major hit during the snowy winter months and now it is a struggle even to pay staff wages.

Carousel manager Stacey Toporowski said: “We had to close during the bad weather because our building is not weather-proof, so through that time we were not getting the parents’ fees.”

Lindsey said they held fundraisers to try and put together a pot of money to carry out the repairs.

“We do hold fundraisers to try and raise money ourselves - but we cannot keep asking parents to help out.” The group’s fight for survival has caught the attention of Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero, who has written to Ashfield District Council to try and resolve the lease issue.

The council had not commented when Chad went to press.