A PLAYGROUP has been saved from closure.

The Annexe Playgroup, in Springhouse Road, Corringham, is celebrating after a £2,000 debt was cleared.

Last month, The Gazette revealed there were fears the playgroup, which caters for 31 children and employs seven staff, was doomed.

However, thanks to the generosity of parents, the local community and a series of fundraising events organised by the playgroup, normal service will continue.

Emma Reed, chairman of an emergency committee set up just before Christmas, said: “The support from the community has been amazing.

“We’ve had mums come up to us and tell how their husbands were organising poker nights to raise money. People have just been coming up with their own ways to help us out. It’s been amazing.”

The playgroup is currently run as a charity, but will become a business in September when it moves into its own new premises next door.

Gina Rawlinson, who took over in November and who will be one of the directors, added: “It’s been stressful for the staff, but since we knew we were going to be OK the atmosphere has got better and people are really happy about the future.

“As soon as we’re up and running, we’ll have more space for the children. It’s going to be ten times better than before.

“We’re really excited and want to push this forward as far as we can go and make it one of the best playgroups in Essex.”