Donna McCullough is a woman on a mission, armed with soft toys and crayons.
Two decades ago she used to bring her daughter to Play Barn, the Salvation Army’s Gore Playgroup.
“When I used to come here 20 years ago there would be 40 to 60 mums and children,” Mrs McCullough said.
Attendance numbers had fallen dramatically since then and she wanted to see them rise again.
The Community Ministries Co-ordinator now ran the playgroup herself.
She had taken four sessions and numbers were already up.
“We have about 11 children and six mums and caregivers.
“Just in the first four weeks it’s doubled.”
It was a great place to make friends for children and adults alike.
“I’ve made good friendships.
“I’m still in contact with people from when I was first here.
“It’s a good place to make friends, especially for single mums, it’s good for them.”
She encouraged parents and caregivers to come along and contribute to the group.
Play Barn ran every Thursday from 9.30am-11am at the Irwell St Salvation Army centre.
She also encouraged parents and caregivers to drop by and use the space “any day of the week”.
Play Barn had great resources and plenty to go around, she said.
“For what it takes me to set up for a handful of mums and caregivers it could be 20 to 30 of them.”
There was plenty of space and play equipment as well as other bonuses.
“Last Thursday there was a big bag of kids’ clothing the mums and caregivers got to go through.”
The children played together and did craft activities. Recently they made Father’s Day cards.
Outdoor activities would happen once it warmed up.
Her daughter had grown up and become a mother herself.
She was now a Play Barn regular again, this time with children of her own in tow.