Early Years Scotland wants you to join us in celebrating Scotland’s playgroups.

Many of our members are voluntary run playgroups and charities who provide early learning and childcare and we want to highlight the important role they play within our communities, while raising awareness of the serious challenges facing them as they struggle to survive.

And you can help, as we launch a drive to attract people of all ages and from all walks of life with valuable skills and knowledge to volunteer some of their spare time to join up and become playgroup committee members .

The local playgroup has been a fixture in towns and villages the length and breadth of Scotland for over 50 years. Different generations of local families had some of their earliest play and learning experiences alongside other children in church halls and community centres – a grandparent picking their four-year-old grandchild up from the local playgroup today may well have attended the group themselves as a child.

The expansion of funded early learning and childcare (ELC) has also seen many parents no longer having time to volunteer themselves as they have returned to working longer hours. Even with the expansion , many voluntary run playgroups – particularly in smaller communities – are still the only early years provision available to local families for miles around.

The cost of living crisis has added to the financial burden for groups, pushing up hall rents, the cost of resources and equipment etc. In addition, regulatory and other demands placed on early years childcare providers over recent years have presented operational challenges and increased the need for playgroup committees to draw on more professional support from communities across Scotland to ensure the playgroups model of ELC is sustainable for future generations .