Randwick Playgroup has two weeks to find key volunteers otherwise it will be forced to close.

Eastern Suburbs Mums chatted to one volunteer Sophia about the playgroup and what help they need.  

How long has the Randwick Playgroup been going for?

Randwick Playgroup was established in 1971. It is held in the Secret Garden, behind the Randwick Literary Institute. It’s one of the most beautiful places
for a playgroup as there is plenty of shade, open space, a sand pit, water play during warmer months and lots of toys.

We used to be open every day and up until about 5 years ago it was on 3 days a week. Last year we had a French playgroup running but had to close as the
volunteer opener had a second baby.

The reduction in the number of days we open is a sign of how much busier parents/carers have become, women return to work quicker than back in 1971, more
kids go to daycare and possibly there are more opportunities for parents and their children to socialise.

What does the playgroup bring to the local community? How has its existence been invaluable to families?

The people who come regularly love it and say it keeps them sane! Mums can sit quietly feeding a newborn while the older sibling plays, we provide support
to each other and offer advice, often we have mothers groups who come and use it as their weekly meeting place.

We participate in the Randwick Literary Institute’s (the playgroup is held in the RLI’s grounds) open days, which provide opportunities for cottage industries
such as local artists and musicians to share their skills and advertise their products.

Who started it and what is your need now?

“I don’t know the details of who started it but it’s one of the oldest playgroups in the eastern suburbs. We are required by Playgroup NSW to have a few
positions filled to be a playgroup: a coordinator, secretary, treasurer. We need to fill all three roles in the next two weeks otherwise we will have
to close,”said Sophia.

“We are all volunteers and do what we can despite the busy lives modern families lead: one of our Wednesday openers is also our events coordinator and
works part time (the second Wednesday opener is a nanny and they have been a team opening and closing each Wednesday for close to three years now),
our treasurer has a child in 1st year at school and works full time, and the coordinator works part time and opens every second Friday.”

The Wednesday playgroup is run by 2 fantastic ladies who share the opening/closing, giving each other great support.

What’s the weekly routine like for a Playgroup Volunteer – how many hours

The coordinator spends about an hour each week on things like responding to FB queries about playgroup, sending on invoices to the treasurer, posting occasionally
on FB regarding an event.

The treasurer’s job is also at most an hour weekly.

They have to pay the rent invoices and each year send statements to Playgroup NSW, they normally bank the money from each playgroup session but at the
moment one of the Wednesday openers is kindly doing that (our treasurer hasn’t come to playgroup for 2 years as her child is in school – we’ve been
looking for a replacement for her for 2 years!).

The secretary’s role is as big as someone wants to make it – they could spend a couple of hours each week checking the list of attendees to each session
and making sure they are a playgroup NSW member (required for insurance), chasing up people whose membership has expired. They would also minute annual
general meetings – about 2 hours each year.

What are the times for the playgroup

10am-12noon every Wednesday and second friday. we close during the christmas break and over easter but open otherwise including school holidays. We run
playgroup every Wednesday (except if raining) and every second Friday.

It runs from 10-12 and each session we get loads of toys out from the sheds, people can grab craft activities for their kids, the children play and then
all share fruit for morning tea – the parent/carer brings a piece of fruit. Each season we hold a special event, eg for spring we had kindy farm visit,
or the reptile people. For summer/christmas we have a santa and elves or a snow machine, for autumn we had the local fire brigade come. The fees that
we receive from each session ($4 per family) pay for these activities, and cover our rent.

If you can spare a few hours a week and help keep Randwick Playgroup open please contact randwickplaygroup@gmail.com or http://www.randwickplaygroup.org