Parents are calling for help to keep open one of the very few affordable playgroups in the area.

Rainbow playgroup was moved from its home in Calders Wharf Community Centre next to Island Gardens last year to make way for 26 riverside apartments and a new community centre from Eastend Homes.

The move meant that the playgroup, now based at Grosvenor Wharf Road, lost its Ofsted accreditation – and its funding from the Government.

Manager Maureen Murphy recently applied to be put on Ofsted’s Early Years register but this could take up to 25 weeks to be processed.

EEH has committed a donation of one month’s rent with the hope of three months’ more support at a later date but once that has gone, the playgroup will be out of money.

Children from Rainbow Playgroup

The playgroup has been allocated a space in the new development but parents say there has been little progress with the scheme.

Mum Christine Armstrong said: “I have three daughters and my eldest came here, my middle one is currently here and I very much hope my youngest will come here.

“At this young age it’s really important to get them used to socialising in groups and dealing with other people, so a playgroup is really vital for that.

“It’s like a family. The staff are all fantastic. Maureen has been in childcare for 30 years and she’s amazing. I trust them all.

“Once we stayed during a playgroup session and I was in awe of how Maureen was with the children. She’s just such a natural.

Rainbow Playgroup staff; left to right; deputy manager Susan Lane, manager Maureen Murphy and playworker Kelly Elsey

“The most important thing for us to protect childcare in the area. We appreciate that EEH has made a donation of one month’s rent and hope they help us further to ensure we can protect free childcare in this area.”

Maureen said: “EEH have been helpful in the past, but we worry once the current funds promised are gone we will struggle.

“There are no other places for these children to go if that happens. We take 20 in the morning and 20 in the afternoon.”

An Eastend Homes spokesman said the social housing group was still waiting for planning approval.

The spokesman said: “Eastend Homes has been working to redevelop the old and outdated community building at Calders Wharf with a mixture of new homes and a community facility.

Children from Rainbow Playgroup

“The Rainbow Playgroup have been directly involved in the design of the new playgroup facilities with Eastend Homes and we are looking forward to the playgroup moving into the new premises as soon as possible.

“Eastend Homes have been able to assist the playgroup by providing a temporary site, which has allowed their work with to continue.

“Eastend Homes remains committed to going forward in partnership with Rainbow Playgroup and is hopeful that planning approval will be confirmed soon so that work on the new centre can begin.”

A Tower Hamlets council spokesman said: "The Calders Wharf application is currently subject to an appeal, for which the Planning Inspectorate will be holding a public hearing in September. The proposal for the redevelopment includes space for a community centre and children’s playgroup. Whether this is occupied by Rainbow Playgroup is a matter between EastendHomes and interested parties, and not something which the local planning authority will decide."