New home for Kingshurst Caterpillars Playgroup

Around 30 staff, parents and invited guests gathered to celebrate the opening of Kingshurst Caterpillars Playgroup this week following its move to School Close in January. 

Councillor Ken Meeson, Cabinet Portfolio Holder – Children, Education & Skills at Solihull Council, officially opened the playgroup’s newly refurbished and decorated premises located next to Kingshurst Primary School.

Cutting the ribbon: Councillor Ken Meeson 

Kingshurst Caterpillars was set up in 2005 and provides a stimulating environment for 2-3 year olds to learn social skills and develop confidence ready for school.

Welcoming guests: Chair, Elaine Herbert (centre) with Playgroup Manager, Kerie Drinkwater (right)

For over 10 years the playgroup operated from Kingshurst Youth and Community Centre, however, re-development plans for the area meant that a new base for the playgroup was needed. Councillor Meesan and council colleagues were thanked for facilitating a smooth transition to the new facilities.

Elaine Herbert, Chairperson of Kingshurst Caterpillars said:

“Although the move was unplanned, it has been really positive for us. Re-locating has enabled us to increase the number of places from 26 to 40. We now have windows and lots of outdoor space for the children to play and enjoy. We arrived in January with 26 children and we’re now full to capacity. We’re a much needed and valued service.”

Staff and Board Members

The event was attended by a number of specially invited VIPs who have supported the playgroup from its early beginnings to more recent years including Children in Need, Jaguar Land Rover, Solihull Sustain and Development in Social Enterprise.

Thank you Ken Wilkinson and Dean Smith at Jaguar Land Rover. JLR raised £2000 to pay for a new gazebo and will be returning in the summer to build up the kids area. Relationship brokered by June Mole at Solihull Sustain.

Elaine added: “We are so grateful to the support we’ve had from our funders and partners over the years. We would not be here today without them.”

Thank you Children in Need! Melanie Connelly and Anna Ducie (centre) pictured with Elaine and Kerie

The Community Enterprise for Success programme has been guiding the board through the process of registering as a Community Interest Company which will help strengthen its financial footing and ability to provide free pre-school provision to low income families in the area.

Manager, Kerie Drinkwater said: “The majority of the children live in high rise flats or maisonettes and do not have access to safe outdoor play. We take children from their 2nd birthday in order that they can access the benefits and experiences at the earliest age possible.”

New outdoor play area

Kingshurst Caterpillars Playgroup is open weekdays and can be found on School Close, Birmingham, B37 6BN. For more information email Kerie Drinkwater or call 07947 661067.

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