In 2022, First Friends Playgroup Inc was at risk of having to close its doors. Faced with falling membership numbers, an ageing building, a lease with high maintenance responsibilities and costly bills, the playgroup was at breaking point. The committee was exhausted and close to burnout. The committee shared their concerns with their Playgroup WA Playgroup Development Officer, who was able to provide support, advice and guidance to the playgroup. Playgroup WA consulted with other playgroups in the area and discovered the majority had similar issues with their leases. Playgroup WA wrote to the local council about the impacts the leases were having on these playgroups.
First Friends Playgroup Inc’s committee, with the support of Playgroup WA, reached out to their local councillors. The councillors met with the playgroup on several occasions to gather details and discuss options. This resulted in the councillors recommending First Friends Playgroup Inc present a motion to their local council for additional support. Committee members, Kealy and Alice, attended the council meeting and provided deputations describing how much their playgroup needed council’s support and how that would benefit local families attending the playgroup. The council heard the playgroup and voted in support of the motion.
The local council are currently in the process of reviewing their community leasing policy. Local playgroups and Playgroup WA have been invited to provide feedback. This result has allowed the playgroup committee space to breathe and an opportunity to focus on other pressing needs of the playgroup (including applying for funding to update the playgroup space, toys and equipment and increasing membership numbers).
Well done to the committee of First Friends Playgroup Inc for all their advocacy efforts! This win boosted the committee’s confidence and created more passion and drive to make their playgroup the best it can be.
One of Playgroup WA’s core goals is to establish and support community playgroups, ensuring there are places for families to meet, connect and learn through play! If your playgroup is facing similar or other challenges, please reach out to your Playgroup WA Playgroup Development Officer for guidance and assistance. You can find your local Playgroup Development Officer here.