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Peggy's Hampstead playgroup under threat

PUBLISHED: 09:32 05 March 2009 | UPDATED: 15:59 07 September 2010

HAMPSTEAD activist Peggy Jay's legacy has come under threat just weeks after she was honoured with a ceremonial plaque, with plans to close part of her children s centre at the One O Clock Club. The morning 10am session of the children s play group is to

HAMPSTEAD activist Peggy Jay's legacy has come under threat just weeks after she was honoured with a ceremonial plaque, with plans to close part of her children's centre at the One O'Clock Club.

The morning 10am session of the children's play group is to close after funders the Pre-School Learning Alliance have made cuts from their budget.

Ms Jay founded the club in the 1980s and its success was mirrored by the establishment of the morning 10 O'Clock Club.

One mum, Sarah Wuttke from Tufnell Park, has taken her little girl Amelie, three, to the morning club for the last two and a half years. She said: "I have taken my daughter their every morning. It is on the Heath and it is such a beautiful setting for children and in the summer it is absolutely packed. It has space for children to run around."

The sessions allow mums to meet while their children play under the supervision of two members of staff.

Another mum, Zillia Carter, takes her son Tristan, 2, to the centre as well. She said: "I think it is a real shame - it is a really nice centre in the middle of Hampstead Heath. My son loves it and my eldest did too. It is really something for everyone."

Ms Jay's daughter Catherine Boyd said her mother would be fighting to protect the morning session which she would see as part of her legacy.

Ms Boyd said: "It's terrible - my mother would be devastated and it is a fantastic accolade to her that it is has been expanded to have a 10am club too.

"This shows how important it is that there is this kind of facility which has open access for everyone.

"I know she would be very upset by this - she would be turning in her grave if she knew and if she was here she would be sorting it out."

The mums are now hoping someone will step in and take over the funding.

The charity says it has approached local authorities to foot the bill but hasn't had a response.

A spokeswoman said: "As a result of current economic pressures we can no longer support the level of funding required and are unlikely to be able to continue running the group after the coming Easter break.

"Negotiations are underway with to try to secure alternative funding streams however, at this point in time, no decision has been made. We will continue to offer on-going support to the club and assist in obtaining additional funding from the local authority."

The afternoon drop-in centre is funded by the Corporation of London, so will remain in operation when the morning class is lost.

The afternoon drop-in centre is funded by the Corporation of London, so will remain in operation when the morning class is lost on April 9.


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