Threatened childcare service in board appeal

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The future of Fyne Families after-school club hangs in the balance unless new volunteer board members can be found.

Fyne Families – formerly Mid Argyll Childcare Services – has provided vital childcare services and support to families in and around Lochgilphead since its inception in 2006.

Over the years these have included Elfs nursery, the toy library as well as a baby and toddler group.

These days the charity focuses on providing affordable after-school care for working families whose children attend Lochgilphead Primary School, and in a normal year the service offers 24 places for children from P1 to P7.

Pupils are collected from the school playground and walk down to Lochgilphead Community Centre where, after a healthy snack, they can enjoy a mixture of free play and organised activities.

During the Covid pandemic the service adapted to provide essential childcare services for key workers, before the schools returned.

The after-school club is managed by a small, dedicated team of qualified childcare workers and an administrator supported by the board, which requires between four and 12 members to operate.

Historically the board has been filled mostly by working parents who utilise the service, but the pressures of juggling work and family life has made it increasingly difficult to maintain this.

Now the service has warned that unless vacancies in key positions are filled – including chairperson and treasurer – the after-school club will be forced to close.

Current chairwoman Kirsty Taylor said: ‘We are desperately seeking new members, particularly those who have experience and/or skills in areas such as financial oversight and grant funding, organisational development, childcare or education, however, the only essential quality is a commitment to contributing your time and wisdom to help guide this key community service.

‘The board is looking to secure the financial sustainability of the after-school club while maintaining affordability for families and to steer the future direction of the baby and toddler group. We have a number of projects in the pipeline that we are keen to progress including the re-development of our outdoor garden space.’

Board members should expect to contribute around five hours per month, including monthly board meetings which, given current Covid restrictions, are held online, and use of the after-school club service is not a prerequisite.

Interested parties are asked to email prior to the online AGM arranged for December 17.