Keep up with Armagh i

Glenanne playgroup in fundraising treasure hunt to sustain rural school building

'We’re raising funds now to get it sorted before it gets any worse and we are forced to close'

A rural Co. Armagh playgroup is hosting a community treasure hunt this week as part of a fundraising drive to maintain their aging building.

Little Villagers Playgroup in Glenanne was established in 1997 by a group of parents who saw a need for accessible childcare in the area.

Today, it serves the small Glenanne community, alongside surrounding areas like Loughgilly, Mountnorris, Whitecross and Ballymoyer.

The family car treasure hunt will be held on Thursday, May 30, with cars leaving the playgroup at 6.30pm.

All taking part will be provided with a clue sheet and will follow a route around the area, before returning to Glenanne for 8.30pm for the results, a raffle and some refreshments.

All are invited to take part in this fundraising initiative, with the entry cost being £10 per car.

Joanne, the Treasurer of Little Villagers, says the fundraising is becoming more necessary to ensure the maintenance of their small building, and in turn, the survival of the playgroup itself.

She explained: “Over the years the weather has battered it and it’s still ok, but we don’t want it to get any worse because we would hate to lose our wee school.

“So, we’re raising funds now to get it sorted before it gets any worse and we are forced to close.”

Joanne describes Little Villagers as a “great asset” for Glenanne due to the rural nature of the area which it serves.

“It’s definitely needed in the area because the likes of Whitecross and Loughgilly would all have to go to Markethill for their closest playgroup, which is another four or five miles away on top of that.

“It would be an awful loss for the area if we did see it being closed.”

Despite the perilous position that many schools in rural areas face, Joanne says securing funding for Little Villagers has been easier said than done.

Said Joanne: “We’re a community-run, not-for-profit organisation, so it’s really the parents who run it.

“The Education Authority only pay per child so they will not help us with the building, and neither will the Department of Education.

“We can get no funds or grants towards any of the building maintenance which is why we’re fundraising so much.”

She added: “I’ve went to the National Lottery and to different micro-grants and nobody will touch us.

“I’m actually in the middle of trying to register ourselves with the Charity Commission because I think that would bring more grants toward us.

“Before Christmas we did a raffle and there had never been any kind of fundraising done before that.

“We tried our best to continue to maintain it over the years, but funds went down after COVID-19.”

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Most read today

More in Markethill