Playcentre ready for official re-opening
‘‘This space is light, it's warm, it's fantastic.’’
Forty-eight years after it first opened in the old hall supper room, the Tai Tapu Playcentre is back, better than ever, and finally has its sand-pit back.
Playcentre parent and rebuild team member Sarah Barnsley said the parent co-operative centre hoped to hold an official opening ceremony during term four.
‘‘We’ll fit it in before Christmas. It might be a sausage on a BBQ, something pretty simple.’’
Barnsley said the new build was a stark contrast to the old version.
‘‘[The old centre] was a breezeblock, original condition, cold, pretty drafty, not particularly pleasant space and it certainly wasn’t built to any current ECE standards,’’ Barnsley said.
It got to a point in April 2016 where the playcentre could not renew their licence without upgrading their facilities.
After the old hall was demolished in December last year, the playcentre had a relocated classroom from Tai Tapu School installed on site by early January this year.
With the community getting stuck in, local businesses backing it and former members and playcentre parents coming down to help, build work was completed in July, allowing the centre to reopen for term three.
‘‘We had a great team thanks to the school community, Smith’s Cranes and Bushnell Builders.
‘‘There’s a lot of passion behind it and a lot of people wanting it to succeed, which is great.’’
The most recent feature to open was a tunnel and mound area. Completed last week by Fowler Landscaping, it crucially included the sand-pit.
‘‘They just love it. It’s a really settling thing for them, so having that back has been brilliant.’’
Next up would be a mudkitchen for cooking up mud-pies and playing kitchen. Barnsley said the playcentre children were enjoying their new surrounds.
‘‘They just love it, they’ve got a better, bigger, brighter everything. This space is light, it’s warm, it’s fantastic,’’ she said.
Although the kids would be happy anywhere ‘‘as long as their buddies were there’’, for wha¯ nau it was a reassuring change.
‘‘It’s now a healthy and safe environment for them to bring their babies and preschoolers to. It’s pretty cool.’’
Parents interested in joining the Tai Tapu Playcentre could connect with playcentre parents through their Facebook page.
Sarah Barnsley says the new playground mound is one of the most popular aspects of the new build. Sarah Barnsley