Parents fight to save children's centre nurseries
Two children's centre nurseries in the London borough of Southwark are set to close because the council says there is no longer a need for places.
The nurseries at South Bermondsey and Bishops House children’s centres are expected to close in September 2014. It is thought that 25 jobs are at risk.
From September 2012 children will not be able to enrol for places at either of the nurseries.
All children who currently have a place at the nurseries and those who have a place allocated for a future start date will have their places honoured.
According to Southwark Council, research at the time of its decision showed that other providers within a half-mile radius of the children’s centres have more than enough vacant places to cater for the children attending the centres.
South Bermondsey Children’s Centre, which is rated Outstanding by Ofsted, and Bishops House Children’s Centre, will remain open and continue to run services as normal as well as offering additional activities including early help sessions for deprived families.
A group of parents, led by Liberal Democrat councillor for South Bermondsey ward Graham Neale, are campaigning to save the nurseries.
Parents have gathered more than 1,000 signatures through a campaign on Facebook and Twitter (@saveournurseries) and an online petition, as well as by collecting signatures against the closure in person.
They aim to get 2,500 signatories, the number required by Southwark Council for a petition to be debated by the council assembly.
Penny Macaulay, whose children attend the nursery at South Bermondsey Children’s centre and who is a member of the group’s Facebook page, ‘Save our Nurseries’, said, ‘It’s a shame that the council want to close the nursery. It is a fairly new purpose-built setting and the staff are amazing.
‘There is a lack of good quality nurseries in the area and the settings that are judged as outstanding have a year to two year waiting list.
‘I may have to give up work if the nursery closes as I want to send my children to a nursery that provides high quality care, although can’t afford to wait years for a place.’