Nature-focused playgroup needs members

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Chiquita Cramer with Maggie and Oscar, Renae Nangle with Eve, Joe and Noah, Rowie Blight and Tanya Franey with Indi Bensmann.
Camera IconChiquita Cramer with Maggie and Oscar, Renae Nangle with Eve, Joe and Noah, Rowie Blight and Tanya Franey with Indi Bensmann. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

For more than 50 years, the King River Playgroup has been a safe place for families and it now faces closure due to a lack of members.

The playgroup has a nature-based playground on the outskirts of Albany but does not have enough parents and children using the King River Hall.

Only a few years ago, organisers had about 60 families on the books, but they have been unable to form a viable membership base for the past three months.

The group is desperately asking for others to sign up before the community service closes for good.

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Dale Freegard said if about 10 families signed up, there would be hope of keeping the group alive. “A few years ago we had around 60 families, but times are changing quickly and more mums are going back to work earlier,” she said.

“It is really quite sad it has got to this stage, but hopefully it is just a lack of awareness.

“Sometimes you hear people say it is so far ... it is literally only 10 minutes from town. It is a beautiful drive and great for the children to relax afterwards.”

The original playgroup was held behind the old tennis court sheds.

Most of the puzzles and some of the old wooden toys which were donated by families in the 1970s are still in use today.

Ms Freegard said the playgroup provided much more than just play — it was about children developing skills. “It is also vital for parents, who are being able to meet each week and share how they are feeling,” she said.

“Often as mums, being away from the workplace and not feeling connected can be a problem and playgroup can offer that connection. Over the many years, there have been some major community efforts with creating a special place.”

The group is asking parents to make the 10-minute drive from town to check it out, with an open day planned on

Thursday next week.

Anyone interested is asked to contact the playgroup through its Facebook page.

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