Two next door neighbours who saw the potential for a playgroup in their village took matters into their own hands.
And after laying the groundwork for six months, Little Owls Stay and Play is now up and running in the Ulgham WI Hall.
Children under five can play with toys and enjoy a range of activities every Thursday afternoon. There are bouncy seats, trikes, building blocks, a train track, baby gyms and a sand table among other equipment.
The non-profit group was set up by Laura Gillott, who gave birth to son Joseph in late November, and Sue Gill, who gave birth to son Lewis two weeks later.
Laura said: “In January, we both said that it would be nice to have somewhere in Ulgham where parents and carers can take their young children to play with toys and equipment and enhance their development. The more we spoke about it, the more we thought about setting it up ourselves.
“A decent number of the parents we spoke to were interested in what we were planning and we also had a good response to the notice in the village newsletter, so we decided to press ahead with the playgroup.
“We became members of the Pre-School Learning Alliance, which provided us with lots of useful information. We have also received lots of donations of toys and equipment from local residents and Tritlington First School, which used to run a toddler group.”
The duo bought some equipment themselves and the required insurance through fund-raising games at the Ulgham Feast in July.
Families are charged £1.50 per session – they are held between 1.30pm to 3pm – to cover the cost of renting the hall. There are weekly craft and group singing activities and free refreshments for children and their parents/guardians.
Sue said: “I’m a member of Ulgham WI and the group has been incredibly supportive ever since I first asked my fellow members if we (Little Owls) could use the hall.
“There are different sections for the younger and older children in our age range and this means that parents with more than one child under five can take them to the same place. It’s also an opportunity for the adults to have a chat and make new friends.
“We were really pleased with the turnout for the first session and we’re continuing to put up posters and hand out flyers to publicise the playgroup.
“We hope that we will grow and be able to offer more activities as funds allow.”
For details about the group visit http://littleowlsulgham.wordpress.com Contact Laura and Sue by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org