Melville City Playgroup to close


Melville City Playgroup president Nichola Tomkins (far right) with some of the members of the group and their children.
Melville City Playgroup president Nichola Tomkins (far right) with some of the members of the group and their children.

THE Melville City Playgroup (MCPG) will close up on January 22, ending its run as a venue for children up to five years of age.

The playgroup, based at Applecross’ Heathcote Cultural Precinct, was unsuccessful in negotiations with the City of Melville to remain at the site where it has operated on a peppercorn lease since the early 2000s.

With members unsupportive of a merger or relocation, a resolution to dissolve the group was passed unanimously.

In an email to members and supporters, president Nichola Tomkins announced with “genuine sadness and great disappointment” the MCPG, a not-for-profit managed by a committee of volunteers, would cease operations from January 22.

“I would like to thank all the committee who have worked tirelessly to keep the (MCPG) doors open for our children to rush through,” she said.

“They are all volunteers and give their time because they see how much their kids gain from attending playgroup.”

In February, 2017, the City endorsed the Heathcote Vision and Place Plan and a business case for the site, before seeking registrations of interest (ROI) for the space.

The MCPG was told in November their ROI was unsuccessful.

City chief executive Shayne Silcox said at the time a decrease in attendance at the playgroup – which has 67 registered families – did not help its cause.

“In recent years, the Melville City Playgroup has unfortunately had limited attendance numbers which has contributed towards the facility being underutilised,” he said.

He said there were many underutilised playgroups in the area with the capacity to take on Melville City Playgroup member families.

Ms Tomkins told the Times members were “devastated” MCPG would close although many saw it coming after the year-long effort and had made other arrangements for their kids.

She said the centre would wait to hear back from the Department of Commerce after lodging a distribution plan, with assets and resources to be donated to other similar facilities.