Despair for parents as multicultural playgroups close

LIVERPOOL Migrant Resource Centre's multicultural playgroups have been a godsend for migrant parents living in the area for the past eight years.

As of January 2013, four of the groups will have to close as a result of the lack of funding to sustain the weekly services.

Liverpool Migrant Resource Centre manager Kamalle Dabboussy said despite the playgroups being an important service, there was no way the organisation could sustain the growth of the groups.

"The costs have increased dramatically over the past three years. We have been providing subsidiary from our own funds, but we can't sustain the groups any longer," he said.

"This is a unique service. We believe it provides a lasting change."

Iraqi mother of two Nadia Nadir said she sought help from the playgroup with her first child two years ago.

"It's very hard when you're alone in a new country with no family around. I knew something was wrong with my baby. I said to local doctors, 'he's not normal'," she said.

"But they all said his behaviour was normal for a baby.

"So I took him here to playgroup and the social worker has helped me so much. He's a different child now."

Mrs Nadir said the playgroup played an important educational role for children and parents and was not merely a social meeting place.

"This is a different playgroup. It's educational and it helps prepare children for school," she said.

"For us [parents] we learn new things. We share our thoughts with other parents.

"I've learnt how to understand my baby. This playgroup is more like a family to me."

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