A PLAYGROUP could be forced to temporarily close before the end of this academic year, if vital funds cannot be raised.

The Annexe Playgroup, in Springhouse Road, Corringham, is run as a charity, but will come under new management in September.

An emergency committee, set up in December, found deficits of £2,000 in the school accounts, which could force it to close before the end of the school year.

The play group has 31 children and seven staff.

Officials from the group say the months lost between Easter and summer would be vital in the continued development of youngsters heading to nursery in September.

The group is now pleading for donations as well as setting up fundraising events over the coming weeks, including a family disco on March 14.

Emma Reed, the committee chair, said: “It’s a desperate situation at the moment to keep it all going.

“We raised £30 last week during an adopt-a-bear morning just to get some funds in.”

Gina Rawlinson, who took over the nursery in the November, is looking forward to the move to bigger premises.

She said: “By going next door it’ll be a smooth transition.

"There’s so much more we can do once we’re in there. Currently, we can only open for two full days, but in there we can open all week.”

Call the group on 07817 199385, if you can help with fundraising.