Playgroup 'proves' how important it is for children to be together
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A plea has been made for parents to support a village playgroup that is "important" for adults' and children's wellbeing.
Little Teacups at the Erskine Centre in Chedburgh, near Bury St Edmunds, is a space for mums, dads and grandparents to interact, as well as youngsters - but more people need to use it to ensure its success.
Holly Nichols, who has taken both her children to the playgroup and now helps run it as a volunteer, said numbers had recently dwindled, and this week's session had to be cancelled as there were only five bookings.
But Mrs Nichols, a nurse, stressed the importance of social interaction - particularly as the coronavirus pandemic has deprived people of contact.
She said a couple of the little ones who had been lockdown babies had cried at their first session, but were fine at the next one.
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"It just proves how important it is for them to get out and be with other children," she said.
"Not all children go to nursery. A huge proportion of children don't go into paid childcare and the only people they see are their mum, dad, grandparents and cousins."
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She added: "I just want people to come and benefit. If people don't come we cannot run it."
Mrs Nichols, mum to Mason, five, and Austin, three, said she knew from personal experience just how important it is to meet up with other parents.
She said: "It's important for our mental health as parents.
"Personally, the reason I'm so positive about it [the group], I know how hard it is to have two young children and not have contact with other parents when you are trying to raise them. It's the hardest job I have ever had.
"It's the importance of social interaction for the children and how that prepares them for nursery and school."
Little Teacups has recently received a grant of £450 from West Suffolk Council, which Mrs Nichols said "will make a big difference in keeping it going".
She said the application was supported by Lucy Agazarian, chair of Chevington Parish Council, and Mike Chester from Chedburgh Parish Council.
Mrs Agazarian said: "I think we need more Hollys in this world - she's a frontline worker and she's still got time to run a playgroup that's very much needed in rural villages.
"And a lot of the young women in Chedburgh and maybe other villages, they don't drive."
Mrs Nichols, who still takes her son Austin to the group, added: "It's nice to have somewhere local and regular. I'm very close with a lot of people I met at that group as well."
She said the transition from Little Teacups to Little Teapots - the pre-school - was easier for some of the children too as they knew each other from the playgroup.
Little Teacups is for newborns and up to age five and runs on Thursdays from 10am to noon at the Erskine Centre in Chedburgh. It costs £3 per family for a session.
For more information visit the Facebook page here. There is also an Instagram page.
Mrs Nichols said they also need someone who can commit time to the group to help run it, which would be on a voluntary basis.
You can get in contact via the Facebook and Instagram pages.