A playgroup that has served the local community for more than 20 years faces the serious threat of closure as pupil numbers continue to drop.
Little Seedlings Community Playgroup, based in Mayfield Church hall, currently only has nine children despite having a capacity for 25 places.
And with funding about to dry up, a Just Giving page has been set up by a former parent to raise £2,000 to make it through to the summer.
The playgroup’s manager Catherine McColm told the Advertiser that she believes local shop closures have hit the nursery hard.
She said: “We have been busy for years, but the lack of footfall has hit us badly. It’s just not as busy around us now with recent shop closures. .
“Since Christmas we have had just nine children. We can’t keep going with those numbers.
‘‘I have been financing it myself but I can’t do it anymore.
‘‘We have had some funding from Midlothian Community Club and Bruno’s Barbers to keep us going until May. The £2,000 Just Giving fundraising would get us to June, keep us ticking over.
“But I’m not looking for money – I’m looking for children to come in the door.
‘‘It would be a shame if we lose it. So many mums have told me what a difference it makes to them. Those two hours to yourself means the world.”
Catherine is keen to let more people know about Little Seedlings.
She said: “It’s a community run playgroup. There are three of us, the other two are volunteers. I have not got money to advertise. Any money that comes in goes straight back to the children.
“A lot of new people who have come into the community have never heard of us, as it has all been on word of mouth before. I just need to get the word out there again. I’m hoping that we can go on.
“I’m kind of optimistic. I’m hoping to get volunteers to do a leaflet drop. A couple of mums are going to have a fundraiser.There are posters going up to get the word out there that we exist.”
Christine revealed that the playgroup’s future was also in doubt when she took over 12 years ago.
She added: “There were only six children then, and now it’s quiet again. It’s the only playgroup in Mayfield. It’s a wee step to school and nursery.
“It’s vital for kids. It builds there social skills and they learn how to play and share.
“A lot of the children and parents have continued friendships up through the schools.
‘‘We just want to get children in the door.”
To donate go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Help-Little-Seedlings?utm_source=facebook.