FRUSTRATED parents and carers have called for a village’s community centre to be fully reopened.

Ormiston Community Centre has been shut to the village’s toddlers’ group since the coronavirus pandemic began nearly two years ago in March 2020.

However, despite the facility being open to the Primrose Day Centre, the toddlers’ group is yet to return.

Sami Veitch, who lives in the village, called for East Lothian Council to do more to allow access.

She said: “I have lived here all my life and I’ve got four children.

“They are aged two, five, six and nine and they all went to the toddler group.

“When I was wee, I went to it in the village hall.

“Ormiston has always had a good toddlers’ group and it has been passed over the years to different people who have taken over.”

The 33-year-old told the Courier that parents had offered to clean the building in the fight against Covid-19.

However, that had been turned down, with alternatives – including in Tranent – offered.

Sami said: “They tried to offer us the football pavilion but it is just not practical for a toddler group.

“They came back and said they had not got a cleaner but we were not allowed to clean the community centre.

“Then, we got offered Wiggles in Tranent but that does not help people in Ormiston that cannot drive.”

The mum-of-four approached Councillor Shamin Akhtar, who represents the village on the local authority, in a bid to help find a solution.

Ms Akhtar said: “I have been talking to Sami and other members from Ormiston Toddlers Group and understand the frustration that they all feel.

“This is alongside the council continuing to face an extremely challenging time staffing wise, with the top priority of keeping our schools, care homes and frontline services open.

“I will continue engaging with staff to look at all options that are available to us to see how we can get the group running again, because I know how important a role it plays in the local community.”

A spokesperson for East Lothian Council told the Courier that the local authority was “very grateful” for the offer to clean the building.

But they said: “The council has responsibilities for the health and safety of our buildings and those within – as well as other obligations and considerations including insurance, building security and fire safety.

“This means that we cannot informally pass cleaning or other operational responsibilities to groups or individuals without formal agreements, which would take considerable time to implement.

“The decision to restrict the use of valuable facilities such as Ormiston Community Centre is regrettable.

“It is a reflection of the fact that we in East Lothian, like so many others elsewhere, are responding to significant difficulties arising from Covid-19 in terms of high case numbers, staff shortages and adhering to the relevant protocols.

“We are focusing on maintaining as many key anchor buildings in each local ward and protecting statutory services.

“The situation is being kept under review so that – when the position improves, staffing capacity increases – we can look to re-open facilities such as Ormiston Community Centre as soon as practical.”