17 years on Marion Doheny still loves her job
Pitshanger Playcentre is located in beautiful Pitshanger Park and is a centre for Parents/ Carers to enjoy with their Children Five and under during term time and eight and under during school holidays. We are a registered charity and are run by a committee of local parents.
Up until 1995 the Playcentre was run by Ealing Council but in October 1994 it was announced that the Council were closing the Playcentre due to budget cuts. I was at that time running a Mother and Toddler group in the Playcentre and got together with my great friend Denise and after a lot of hard work and negotiation with Ealing Council we took it over as a community project. Little did I know I would still be there 17 years later!
It is hard to explain what the Playcentre is, I think you have to visit to understand that it is much more than a place for little ones to play. There are a myriad of activates on offer for them. They can do crafts, roll and knead the home made play dough (the adults love this, a great stress buster!), cook up a storm in the wooden play kitchen, dress up in their favourite costume (Buzz Lightyear is the favourite). Outside we have a slide and swings and lots of bikes. When the weather is good we have a bouncy castle and a huge sandpit.
Craft and Music play a key role in our activity schedule. We have singing with puppets twice a week which is very popular and have started a music and movement class called `Shake Rattle and Roll` on Wednesday afternoon. The Children love music and all the better if they can dance as well! We are so lucky to have Gemma our wonderful singer who seems to have boundless energy and the Children adore her. We always have a craft activity; the Children love to take something home they have made. My favourite was the bats we made at Halloween it was great walking around Pitshanger seeing them displayed on the windows of the houses. We also make a big picture for our wall every few weeks for the Children to make together, they love showing everyone the part they made.
We have an Easter and Halloween party every year and run events in the summer. These are always well attended and every Child loves a party! We rent the Playcentre out for Children`s birthday parties and we are a popular venue. We are mindful that we live in a privileged community and we are keen to provide local Children with a sense of the wider world. To this end, last year we donated the proceeds of our St. Patricks day fundraising event to the Japan Earthquake appeal. This year we will be raising money for Rwanda on St. Patrick`s Day. A local family do a lot of work building schools and sending out equipment for schools in Rwanda and we are happy to support this amazing work.
Parents, Childminders, nannies and in fact anyone caring for Children are welcome to the Playcentre, Carers get to meet people and make friends and no matter what kind of a day they are having when they come to the Playcentre they will find the support they need. We have supported lots of families in the rewarding but sometimes difficult task of raising young Children. We especially welcome families new to our community and we are often the first place they find during a walk in the park. We had a lady who moved to Pitshanger after Christmas and she came to visit us on the recommendation of a local shopkeeper. She loves it here in Pitshanger already and says she can`t believe the wonderful community she has moved to.
In the summer we have had teenage volunteers at the Playcentre, some of them used to come here when they were little. It is lovely that they want to help. In the future some may even come back with their own Children!
We have a lot of support from locals. They are very kind to us donating various items. We are also very well supported by Pitshanger Community Association who does fantastic work bringing Pitshanger people together. We hold stalls at Party in the park and Light up the lane which they organise. It is great to see everyone out enjoying themselves at these local events.
We are a vital part of our local community, time and time again people have said they don`t know what they would do without the Playcentre.
Please come and visit us if you are passing. No need to book. Our opening hours are as follows:
Monday Morning 10.10am to 11.45am singing with puppets followed by a play session
Tuesday and Wednesday Morning 10am to 11.45 Play session with craft activity
Wednesday Afternoon 3.30pm Shake Rattle and Roll, Music and Movement class
Thursday Morning 10am to 11.45am and 2pm to 4.30pm Play sessions with craft activity
Friday Morning 10.10am to 11.45am singing with puppets followed by a play session
ALL music sessions cost £4 per child, siblings cost £1
Play sessions cost £3 per child siblings cost £1.
Contact us on 07951 535 779
Manager of Pitshanger Playcentre
12th February 2012