Mothers set up a new guiding group to reduce waiting lists

Group leaders Louise Kinchin, left, and Kellly Hale with the girls from the 3rd Witney Rainbows

Group leaders Louise Kinchin, left, and Kellly Hale with the girls from the 3rd Witney Rainbows

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Witney and West Oxfordshire. Call me on 01865 425483

TWO parents have stepped up to form a new Rainbows group in Witney to cut a growing waiting list for children.

Kelly Hale and Louise Kinchin, both residents of the Madley Park estate, have set up the 3rd Rainbows group, based at Madley Park Hall, in Northfields Farm Lane.

It comes three years after the existing two Rainbow groups issued an appeal for volunteers because there were more than 50 girls waiting for a place in either group.

Mother-of-two Mrs Hale, 32, manager at the hall, said: “It’s a lot of work to set it up and people forget sometimes that you need volunteers for these things.

“My eldest daughter went to Rainbows in Long Hanborough, because there was no space in Witney.

“With my job at the hall I am full of community spirit so I thought I would give it a go. Everyone seems to be excited about it.”

Witney is split into two Girl Guiding districts. Witney II has two Rainbow groups, for girls aged five to seven, but Witney I has none.

Group leaders issued an appeal in 2011, saying some parents were registering their children at birth because girls were often too old to join by the time there was space for them to do so.

A woman came forward but then backed out so Mrs Hale offered to help. The new group will cater for 15 girls and take youngsters from the current waiting list. It will run every Wednesday from 5.45-6.45pm and will feature crafts, story-telling, drama, music and games.

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Mrs Hale, who said there are plans for another group to be created, added: “The reality was that if you put your daughter on the list at five she was never going to get a place.

“It’s reduced the waiting list for the other two units.

“Rainbows are very important because it’s a structured but fun environment.

“It’s an hour a week for a child to do something without their parents and isn’t quite as structured as at school.”

Mother-of-two Mrs Kinchin, 31, is a teaching assistant at Madley Brook School and runs a Sunday School at North Leigh’s Windmill Gospel Hall.

She said: “I don’t think people have the time, or at least think they have the time, to give.

“I got involved because my daughter Poppy is five next year and she was on the waiting list but the chances that she was going to get into one were slim.

“Rainbows are a chance for girls to get out, meet new people and do fun activities.”

The group, wich starts on Wednesday, September 17, cost £30 per child each term.

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