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‘No need to shut nurseries’
Friday, 13 July 2012
CAMPAIGNERS have stepped up their fight to stop a town hall closing two nurseries.
Southwark council had planned to phase out the childcare services at Tenda Road Nursery in Rotherhithe and the Bishop’s House Children’s Centre in Kennington, over the next two years.
More than 20 staff who work at the nurseries face losing their jobs in the plans.
The council said childcare services had to be cut because Government cuts to its budget of £90million over two years meant it had to make savings.However at an assembly meeting at Southwark College in Keetons Road on Wednesday, campaigners blasted the authority for being “irresponsible” over the issue.
Lawyer Nikola Sachariew, whose two children go to the Bishop’s House nursery in Kennington Park Place, said: “We believe the council is acting irresponsibly by planning to close the nurseries, fire the staff and reduce childcare provision in the borough, even though the nurseries could be perfectly profitable if run well.
“It’s not a question of cuts, as they could actually be profitable and pay for themselves.
“We want the council to sit down and really look at the figures and try to see how this can be achieved.
“These centres are a lifeline for parents who work or who want to go back to work.”
Parents were first told of the plans to shut the childcare services on March 8.
The council promised to keep the nurseries open until April 2014 and had pledged to help parents find new places if they wanted to move.
Childminding services, including play sessions, drop-in childminding, parent and families’ activities, would remain at the centres under the plans.
Tenda Road Nursery, based at the South Bermondsey Children and Parents’ Centre, was given an outstanding rating in every category at its last Ofsted inspection, ranking it as one of the best in the borough.
The campaigners have promised to continue lobbying the council about the issue and have collected more than 1,300 petition signatures.
Mr Sachariew promised: “We will not go away until they change their minds.”
A consultation on the plans will finish on July 31 and a decision will be made at the end of the summer.
Councillor Dora Dixon-Fyle, Southwark cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We’re listening to local people, which is why we put on hold any decision while we have been conducting a consultation.
“However, the simple fact is that we are finding savings from every council department due to the Government cuts we are having to deal with.”
All content © of South London Press unless stated otherwise.
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Comments on this news item:
2 comments on this news item
Posted by : Pru, Walworth | Friday 20/Jul/2012 | Report this comment
Bishop’s House is an excellent nursery and an integral part of the local community. Ways should be investigated to make it efficient and profitable, rather than simply closing it and sacking staff.
Posted by : Matt, Kennington | Thursday 19/Jul/2012 | Report this comment
I am outraged at the closure of Bishops House. The Council has made a knee-jerk decision to close a front-line service without assessing options such as parent volunteers, increasing revenue through more places for kids, or tailoring fees to reflect the local demographic. Closing the nursery is the easy option - working with the community to find a solution will be hard, but worth it long-term
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