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Hands full . . . Mataura mums Donique Pearsey and Anna Kaui are run ning a playgroup in the Bunker on Tuesdays.

A playgroup that met yesterday in Mataura is the first to run in the town for a long time.

Mataura Youth Trust member Nicky Coats said the group was filling a community need after the Mataura’s old playcentre closed in February.

It had been too expensive to run.

“There were issues around building and funding,” Mrs Coats said.

It was going to cost $150 per session to carry it on, she said.

Those involved decided to look for a new location for the playgroup.

They found one at the Bunker, Mataura’s old town hall.

The Bunker was owned and run by the trust, which already provided opportunities for older children.

It was exciting to have a facility for young children, too, she said.

“We’ve spent the last few months tidying it up.

“We’ve just installed a new heat pump and there is new carpet and fresh paint.

“It’s awesome.”

Mataura mothers Donique Pearsey and Anna Kaui were running the group.

“It’s a great location,” Miss Pearsey said.

“There is a big fence, an outdoor area and a trampoline.”

They were independent from the previous playgroup, she said.

“There was no way of carrying the other one on.”

It was cheaper to run the playgroup at the new site.

“It’s two dollars per child.”

Parents were also encouraged provide their child with a piece of fruit as a mid-morning snack.

Children were having fun with “messy play and crafts”.

The playgroup was a chance for children to spend time with each other which they might not have had since before the Covid-19 lockdown began.

The playgroup was also important as it was a chance for mothers to get together who might not otherwise have many chances to socialise.

Mothers looked forward to the playgroup as much as their children did, she said.

“We’re hoping to attract new mums in the area.

“We’d love anybody to come along.”

The playgroup meets every Tuesday from 9am-noon.