Fulham Parents Launch Fund-Raising Scheme to Save Playhouse

Friends seek help from local people and businesses

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Parents battling to save Sands End Playhouse have launched a fundraising scheme to keep it open. The goal is to raise £10,000 by the end of December - and they have already raised almost £4,000.

Playhouse staff and the families who use it learned in summer that H & F Council intended to withdraw its annual funding of £94,000.

That funding will cease at the end of January, and so the newly formed Friends of Sands End Playhouse are raising money to keep it open until the end of March. They hope this will give SEAPIA (Sands End Associated Projects in Action) the charity runs the Playhouse, time to find long term sponsors.

The first initiative to be launched is a voluntary scheme which is inviting families and local businesses to make a small donation of £10 to become a Friend.

Other fundraising events in the pipeline include a children's Christmas party, toddle waddle charity walk and family photo session. Estate agent Aspire is also helping by sponsoring a local publicity campaign.

Sands End Playhouse, on Stephendale Road, has been a much loved part of the community tor 30 years, providing an under fives' playgroup in the form of a year-round, drop-in centre for carers and children, every morning until lunchtime and with regular Saturday morning sessions for dads.

As the Council has now withdrawn its funding, the Playhouse will have to raise all of its funding itself, so a business plan has been developed to look at alternative, sustainable, long-term sources of funding.

"It is essential that we keep the Sands End Playhouse open," says manager Lin Waghorn. "There is no other facility in south and central Fulham offering a comparable service with indoor and outdoor activities, supervised by trained staff, for pre-school children."

The group were recently hit by a second blow when they learned that even if they have the funding, the Council intends forcing the Playhouse to relocate from its purpose built premises at the end of February.

In response, the group say that discussions with the Council in relation to the building are continuing, whilst new sites are being explored. "The Sands End Playhouse is a much loved, much needed and well used local playgroup," said Barbara Nicholson, a mum of two who was instrumental in setting up the parents group, who already have a Facebook page with over 700 members.

"The Playhouse is at the heart of the Sands End community and the value of the Playhouse to parents, grandparents and new mothers is huge. For many parents, the Playhouse is a lifeline, providing them with the support to help them cope with the daily challenges of parenthood."

Anyone who would like to become a Friend and make a donation to the scheme can do so online at the group's JustGiving page.

Anyone interested in discussing other fund raising initiatives with the Friends of Sands End Playhouse should contact the team at friends.of.playhouse@gmail.com

 

November 26, 2010