Jigsaw Pre-School is celebrating 35 years of service to the community in Crewkerne. The amazing success of the group for under school age children began when registered childminder Kay Chant received a visit from Social Services back in 1982. Kay was asked if she was interested in starting up a playgroup as there was a shortage of such facilities in the local area. Kay Chant said: “I approached a family member to help and Mandy Gibson and myself fund-raised by holding jumble sales and cake stalls and so began the birth of Jigsaw 35 years ago.”
The Jigsaw playgroup met originally in the Unitarian Chapel hall but after a flood were unable to operate from the venue. Several of the young children’s parents asked the West One Youth & Community Centre if Jigsaw could use their premises, which enabled the group to grow in numbers and have access to better facilities. In 1994 Jigsaw also took over the running of the Maiden Beech playgroup, following a request from Rusty Jackson. They received a £1,000 donation from Access and made a great success of the group until the temporary building was demolished to make way for permanent classrooms at the Maiden Beech School.
Jigsaw Pre-School moved to the George Reynolds Centre approximately five years ago, following the closure of the youth and community centre in West Street and subsequent sale of the premises. Kay said: “Our facilities at the GRC were created exclusively for our pre-school and include a small outside area which allows us direct access to the Henhayes field and children’s playground.” Although Kay Chant has now taken a back seat, she is still very much involved. The registered person for Jigsaw is Astra Conroy, who is supported by deputy manager Rachael Frost, their Senco, Sharon Anstey and a team of long term dedicated people.
The Jigsaw Pre-School is open weekdays from 8 am until 6 pm all year round apart from the Christmas holidays and bank holidays. Jigsaw also offers a holiday club for school aged children and was rated outstanding in many areas in their last Ofsted report. Astra Conroy and everyone at Jigsaw would like to thank all the families that have supported them over the years and continue to do so with successive generations.