Children and grandchildren keep up the family connections at Alphabet Playgroup

Balloon modelling was among the events at Alphabet Playgroup's 25th anniversary party at Greenisland Community Centre.
Balloon modelling was among the events at Alphabet Playgroup's 25th anniversary party at Greenisland Community Centre.

Alphabet Pre-School Playgroup has marked its silver anniversary with a tea party at Greenisland Community Centre.

Back in September 1993 a group of parents began a successful fundraising campaign and formed a committee to manage the playgroup.

The group, under the chair of Doreen Haggan, together with leader Noreen Atkins and two A.C.E. qualified staff, opened with 25 registered children.

In 1999 it joined the Pre-School Expansion Programme administered by the Department of Education (DE), which in turn meant that additional financial help was available to secure a funded place for pre-school children, helping families in the locality. It also meant the group had to meet the department’s exacting criteria, following the national curriculum in pre-school education.

DE has inspected the group three times since then with outcomes ranging from ‘satisfactory’ through ‘very good’ to ‘outstanding’. The last report is available to read on the DE website.

Jo Hendrix, the incoming chair, said: “Throughout the intervening years Alphabet Playgroup has afforded over 1,000 children with pre-school educational places and employed additional permanent staff. Today there are five fully qualified staff and the group is a registered charity.”

Long-standing group Leader, Noreen Atkins said: “Alphabet has gone from strength to strength and some of my original attendee children are now bringing their own children to join the Alphabet community; and in the case of our long-standing chairperson, Doreen Haggan, her own grandchildren.

“So we are one big family and I want to pay tribute to our current staff members, Joanne Robinson, Kathleen Devlin, Roisin Montgomery and Carolyn Hunter; they are dedicated to the group and the children in their care.”

Former Greenisland Alliance councillor, Noel Williams was among those at the anniversary celebration.

He said: “I was delighted to be invited to celebrate its silver birthday and enjoy the party in its Greenisland Community Centre home, were a variety of activities to entertain the children, parents and visitors alike.”

There are still funded places available for September. Parents of pre-school children, who would like to join can call 028 9086 0851 or 07742 689874(M) for more details.