THE Derrytrasna community united to celebrate a mammoth fundraising achievement which netted much needed cash for the local preschool in the grounds of St Mary’s Primary School.
This event was to thank the local business and individuals who give donations and support as part of a very successful campaign by the management committee of the Derrytrasna Playgroup to match the funding already secured from the Southern Organisation for Action in Rural areas (SOAR).
The funds went towards building a new classroom for the playgroup.
A large number of residents from the wider Derrytrasna area turned up and were entertained by Irish and Line dancers from the Diamond Rio Dance Group, pipers from St. Mary’s Pipe Band and, for the children, there were face painters and a bouncy castle.
The Minister of Education John O’Dowd and other local politicians also attended the event.
The Minister said: “I am delighted that the Derrytrasna preschool Committee has fulfilled their objective of providing a purpose built facility for young children of the area. This preschool group were initially housed in an unused classroom in St Mary’s Primary School and fell victim to the growing success of the school.
“St Mary’s intake increased dramatically forcing the group to seek alternative housing. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of the local community they have now returned to the grounds of the School where they started out.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Mairead O’Dowd also congratulated the Derrytrasna Playgroup.
Cllr Mairead O’Dowd said: “This project highlights the depth of community spirit within Derrytrasna and the surrounding townlands. The Playgroup Committee, the Bay Hall Committee, the Staff of the Primary School and local residents worked together to ensure the preschool group remained active whilst they sought a permanent base.
“I was privileged to be able to assist in identifying potential funding sources and in facilitating meetings with SAOR, the body responsible for distributing rural development funding. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them for their commitment and persistence in overcoming all of the obstacles that blocked their path and for the wonderful purpose built facility that they have provided.”
Deirdre Skelton, manager of the Playgroup, said: “I was delighted to see so many people attend which made it a joyous occasion and the continuing support of the community is overwhelming. I’m looking forward to welcoming the children into the new classroom on the 3 September where the classroom assistants and the management committee have been working hard during the summer months to ensure all the equipment is in place in this superb facility.”
From September the Playgroup will be extending their opening hours and a breakfast and after school club will also be offered as part of the services.
There are still have a few places available for this new school year and already the Playgroup and Afterschool Club are also taking applications for the 2013/2014 school year. For more information please contact Deirdre on 0283 8340 295