Eastbourne playgroup shuts suddenly over festive break

An investigation is underway after a village playgroup closed suddenly.

Friday, 12th January 2018, 5:24 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 12:21 am

Parents say they and their children have been left devastated after discovering Pevensey and Westham Playgroup shut its doors with no warning when they turned up to Pevensey Memorial Hall for the first day of term last week, Wednesday January 3.

A notice had been left on the door saying the playgroup was “no longer open for business”.

An investigation is now underway by both Ofsted and the Charity Commission.

And East Sussex County Council said it had been forced to withdraw vital early years funding after the playgroup’s committee had resigned suddenly.

The playgroup, managed by Kristina Tangen and a registered charity, had been operating for more than 20 years.

A council spokesperson told the Herald that once it was aware the committee had resigned with immediate effect, it referred the matter to Ofsted and the Charity Commission for investigation.

“We have to follow a statutory process which means if a playgroup does not have a management committee in place, we cannot continue to provide it with early years funding,” said the spokesperson.

“It will be for Ofsted to decide what happens next regarding the playgroup’s registration and future and for the Charity Commission to investigate the circumstances around the resignation of the playgroup’s management committee. We will continue to work with parents to support them in finding alternative provision for their children.”

Officials on the Pevensey Memorial Hall Management Committee said they were sad at the demise of the playgroup.

Spokesperson Keith Henderson said, “We want to express our concern for children and their parents who attended the playgroup. We, like others, only found out after the Christmas break. I attended the hall on the date the playgroup was due to recommence to find a number of parents, children and playgroup staff all in tears, not knowing what was going on.”

Mr Henderson said he hoped a new playgroup would soon be operating from the hall.

Ofsted confirmed it was investigating. The Herald was unable to contact Ms Tangen or committee members for a commen